Foundation ambassador attends Changemakers session

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.”

That was the message from top sports broadcaster and Wolves Foundation ambassador Jacqui Oatley as she attended a Premier League Changemakers programme designed to empower young women into leadership both on and off the pitch.

Jacqui, who hails from Codsall, has progressed from being the first ever female to commentate on Match of the Day to now being one of the most respected broadcasters in the sporting world, both presenting and commentating on not just football but a range of sports.

She made a ‘virtual’ visit to a recent session of the Changemakers session which took place at Molineux and spent almost an hour chatting about her experiences and answering questions from the girls of secondary school age between 11 and 17.

“It was absolutely brilliant to be able to welcome Jacqui online to one of our Changemaker sessions and it went really well,” says outreach coach Matt Elcock, who leads the programme.

“She had a conversation with the girls with regards to how she got into the profession of journalism, the barriers she faces and challenges she had to overcome and how she managed to achieved that.

“She was really good and the girls asked lots of questions and have really enjoyed it based on the feedback we have received.

“One particular bit of advice that we took away was relating to the fact that Jacqui actually went into journalism late after doing something else before.

“The message from that was, ‘Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something’, which was something really important for the girls to take away.”

Approximately 15 participants meet every week on the Changemakers programme which the Foundation deliver for the Premier League.

It aims to inspire and empower girls of secondary school age to help them develop their leadership skills, in and away from sport.

Participants on the Foundation programme are usually drawn from the PL Kicks Girls Hub football session which takes place at the Arena at Aldersley on Tuesday nights.

“It is a really positive social action project which covers various topics including discussions around identity and what they are passionate about and care about.

“They learn a little bit more about themselves and the skills that they bring as well as what they might be able to do within their local community.

“We try to steer away from it being a classroom environment so while there are many positive messages and they do complete a workbook and answer questions we also make it fun where we can.

“We also organised a trip to Wolf Mountain where they took part in caving, rock climbing and archery which they really enjoyed.

“It is great because you can see the progress made by the girls as the programme progress.

“For the first session or two some of them might not open up and engage in the discussions but as the weeks pass by there is more and more conversation and they feel confident to talk about the subjects we are looking at.”

The current Changemakers programme started in September and finishes in December with all regular attendees receiving a certificate and a Nike football on completion.