Shanell's blog - increasing participation in football for females of South Asian heritage
- Shanell is our RWP Supported Living Income Collection Officer and professional footballer
Not only is Shanell our Supported Living Income Collection Officer for RWP, she’s a professional footballer for Blackburn Rovers FC too!
Here she talks about the rewards of her job and why playing football is so important to her.
“Each of us on the Supported Living Income Collection team has our patch around the country and we investigate arrears with tenant accounts. It’s very rewarding to help people with challenges and support needs. I know that the work that I do is going some way to help provide a home for people and help them to manage their finances.
Part of the job is investigating whose fault is it that the debt has occurred. Getting into arrears is a very sensitive subject for many people, especially at a time when the cost of living is so high. We always try to provide a solution.
Success on the pitch
My love of football began when I was a little girl growing up in Germany, where women’s football is just as embedded in the culture as men’s. I remember watching a World Cup match between Germany and Brazil - the goalkeeper Oliver Kahn was making insane saves. It was so exciting and inspiring, it just stuck with me.
I played as goalkeeper for a local youth team, and when I moved with my family to the UK when I was 15, I began to play here. My footballing career took off and I played for Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic and then as a semi-professional at Lewes.
I moved to Blackburn Rovers FC because I wanted a challenge and luckily for me I have flexibility in my role to achieve that. Every footballer’s dream is to represent their country but my personal aim is to create more awareness for female football players with South Asian heritage. You hardly see girls with my heritage play football because it’s not accepted in the culture.
I’m fronting a campaign to create awareness with another South Asian teammate at Blackburn Rovers. We have to call out the culture on its poor perception of female athletes. We have to throw ourselves out there – if it encourages a girl in an Asian household, then we have done our work to add diversity to the game.”