11 March 2022
Ardonagh Retail CEO, Ian Donaldson, was recently named Diversity Champion of the Year at the 2022 Burberry British Diversity Awards – designed to promote the values of equality, diversity and inclusion by rewarding those individuals, organisations and unsung heroes who help to make the world and the workplace a better place for others.
Ian was recognised by the awards for his work on his charitable initiative, Football For Change, which launched in May 2021, and has already been fundamental in helping to change the lives of disadvantaged young people in the North West.
Football For Change brings together football stars and business leaders with a collective goal to help young people in some of the most challenged communities in the UK, by getting them into education or helping them to find employment opportunities – supporting them to unlock their full potential.
Ian, who was a promising young footballer growing up, launched the initiative, which is sponsored by Swinton (part of Atlanta and the Ardonagh Retail family), to fund life-changing projects in education, employment and sport. The initiative has already gained the backing of several football icons, including Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Lineker, Steven Gerrard and Anthony Gordon.
And with his most recent win, Ian has chaired a VIP luncheon with a performance by Brit-nominated musician Tom Grennan, and Liverpool footballing legends, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, joining the event to help raise money for the cause.
The event had a VIP lunch and special Q&A with footballers and business leaders in attendance, and was the second major fundraising event organised by the initiative, which has raised a more than £400,000 to make an impact in its local communities.
So far, it has enabled 50 disadvantaged young people to take part in a three-week educational and football course in Dallas in the US. Through its fundraising at this event, the cause and its patrons hope they can continue to level the playing field to help build a better future for young people.
Commenting on the event and his award win, Ian said they had big plans to help change the lives of young people in need.
He said: “Events like this are an important part of our fundraising efforts and all of the money raised will fund projects helping NEET (not in education, employment or training) young people into education or employment programmes.
“This is about giving young people platforms to build better futures because far too many of them, especially those from poorer communities, are being left behind. We’re about creating opportunities and changing lives for the better.
"I'm extremely proud and humbled to have won Diversity Champion of the Year in the British Diversity Awards, it really is an honour to have been awarded such an accolade. This award not only recognises all of our work to promote social mobility through Football For Change, but also the brilliant work we undertake to champion diversity and inclusion across Atlanta and the wider Ardonagh Group."