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Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 17:27 UK

The 2008 Your Game All Stars

2008 Your Game All Stars
The All Stars meet the Sports Minister and others at the Houses of Parliament

Nine young people from across England were selected as Your Game All Stars for their contribution to their local communities.

Plucked from each of the nine areas Your Game visited in 2008, the young men and women have been rewarded for working with excluded groups such as young offenders, people at risk from drugs and crime and those caught up in gangs.

They will now continue to work with Your Game to develop their projects and recently travelled to Switzerland to talk about their experiences and sample the atmosphere at the European Championship.

But who exactly are they and what do they want to achieve? These are the All Stars in their own words:

Sahir Nadat

I am from Batley, a small multicultural town. Recent events have unfortunately put 'us on the map'. Recent media articles have highlighted it as the home of terrorism, suicide bombers, kidnapping, violent knife crime and record BNP votes. From Shannon Matthews to Mohammed Siddique Khan - we seem to have it all.

I have been involved in voluntary work since the age of 12. There are many people in my community who are the same and it is unfortunate that the media does not highlight these bits.

I have a Cricket Coaching qualification and participated on a successful grassroots cricket projects with the ECB (English Cricket Board). I have also organised various youth work projects up until I was 19.

I heard about Your Game on the BBC's Match Of The Day and it sparked my interest. I organised a team of 'strangers' and participated in the event.

Your Game also selected me as an All Star and gave me the opportunity to attend a global sporting conference in Switzerland, which had the presence of governing bodies such as Fifa, Uefa and the United Nations. It was such a privilege and an honour for me to be in the presence of such people and being given the opportunity to fly the Your Game flag.

Your Game has fuelled my ambition to help people in the community and to work towards a common goal through fun-filled activities and education. My personal ambition is to be a positive role model for young people from disadvantaged areas, and promote Your Game to a wider audience locally, nationally and worldwide.

Shalayne Bartlett

Heya. I'm currently halfway through an apprenticeship in sport development which is run by Chartstage. I also manage and coach Southmead Girl's U12's and U14's football team.

I got involved with BBC Your Game by entering a team of girls from the Chartstage apprentice scheme and we got through on fair play which took us to the finals in Birmingham.

Being an All Star has changed my life completely, it has been an eye-opener for me and for my football team. I can't wait for the upcoming months and the opportunities that will come my way and the goals I will achieve. But none of this would of been possible without the BBC Your Game and all of the BBC guys who have been involved.

Since becoming an All Star, I have many ambitions and my main one is to become a women's and girls development officer for my community, then make a difference in other communities and get more young people involved in sports.

Rimla Akhtar

I've been involved with sport in the community in one way or another ever since I could walk! However, I joined the Muslim Women's Sport Foundation (MWSF) in 2001 as a futsal player after attending trials for the British Muslim Women's team.

The organisation is currently run entirely by volunteers and we provide a unique opportunity to Muslim women from a variety of races and backgrounds, with structured coached sports sessions, opportunities to get involved with sport in the way in which they want as well as the player pathway to higher level competition.

The MWSF was filming for the BBC show Desi DNA and the producer mentioned Your Game. It's been a privilege to be involved with such an important project and to work alongside a number of people who are working towards shared goals.

In the long term, I see myself and the MWSF working together with the Your Game project for a long time! We hope to set up enough teams to have a league which is open to all women from all faiths, races and backgrounds and that vision is something we're working towards with the projects we're now extending and initiating. I hope to be a role model for women across the world, especially those who are or want to be involved with sport and those from the communities that I represent.

Jade Jackson

I heard about Your Game in 2006 when I entered it with Positive Futures. I ended up playing in the final at St James' Park - it was immense. This year I entered Your Game again with Positive Futures I didn't go to the final this time but the rest of the girls did.

As an All Star we have are own say in how to make BBC Your Game improve and how new ideas can contribute to the BBC.

Switzerland was a great experience. We met people you would never think you would have a chance to speak to or ever see.

We got to have are say over there and network with people that could take our careers to another level. I found the trip very, very useful and got contacts from all over I am now going to stay in contact with these people and take my career to the limit.

My personal ambition is to make it as a artist and DJ. I would like to work with the BBC 1Xtra team and with being a BBC All Star I think this could be a great opportunity to get my foot in the door.

Lalona Watts

I got involved with Your Game by developing a team of young women named Focus United in 2007 and Aston Babes in 2008 which was made up of old players and some new ones put together on the day. I set up training sessions, coached the team and then put the team forward to compete.

I actually work as a Girls and Women Football Development Officer for Birmingham city council, The FA, and an organisation called Aston Pride. I also work in the community delivering Street Dance sessions to young people aged 5-18yrs.

Being an All Star has made me look at life from a different perspective. I really want to be successful at whatever I put my mind to. At the moment I realise that there is a lot of help and support out there, and people do care about small projects in small or deprived communities and they are willing to push you forward and help move any barriers that you may have in the way. But it's for me to take this in to account, develop community projects and develop myself.

From a young age my ambition was to be a football coach or manager and a part-time dancer or choreographer. I would love for girls and women football to develop drastically and for girls and women participation in any sport to improve in my local area.

The only ambition I have now is to be very successful in both careers, learn different dance styles, get involved with schools and do workshops with youth groups. I also want to be successful at being an All Star and hopefully progress to the next level.

Lee Hurst

I heard about the Your Game All Stars through one of last year's All Stars. I was speaking to him at the Manchester Your Game tournament and afterwards I thought "I want to be like him".

As an All Star I am representing the Your Game project, the region of Manchester and my community. It is my responsibility to apply for funding and develop local projects around my community and on a wider scale.

I am involved in a lot of different sporting activities including football, rugby, netball, gymnastics and rock climbing. I run lots of different tournaments for the local primary schools, secondary schools and disabled children in the area. My aim is to develop these projects and widen my view to a bigger audience and also create more and more exciting projects for the young people to get involved in.

My personal ambition is to be a top-class referee and I'm already on they way up the refereeing ladder and hopefully the Your Game team will be able to help me achieve my personal ambition. I would also like to become a PE teacher in the future.

Mario Hajiloizis

I saw on the TV ad that the Your Game festival was coming to Nottingham and thought it would be a nice thing to go to as it included three things which interest me - football, music and the media. So I went on to their website and wrote an email out to the YG team just expressing my interest in participating as a volunteer.

On the day itself I was surprised by the sheer size of the project but for me it was quite a suitable event as I did my degree in sports management and learnt about sports development issues amongst other things. And, after recently completing my masters in radio journalism, it turned out to be a great opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming a sports journalist.

My volunteering skills weren't needed but I did take part in the BBC Blast Reporter scheme and after that I was asked if I was interested in doing a feature for the Your Game website about what impact the event had on Nottingham. For a budding trainee sports journalist I was delighted to have been offered the opportunity.

Being an All Star has been incredible so far. Firstly going to the House of Commons and meeting so many big people such as Richard Caborn, then heading out to Switzerland to watch Holland vs Romania and see how the journalists set up and get to business in the stadium!

On top of that going to the sport for social inclusion symposium and exchanging business cards with people from the UN was just something I never thought I would get to do really! I honestly didn't feel I deserved all this and it was quite emotional as I was so grateful.

Now I want to achieve my dream and become a sports journalist and in representing Nottingham as an All Star, it has made me incredibly proud. I will do all I can to not only improve Nottingham's communities, but to help network with all the other All Stars to tackle national issues.

Theone Coleman

I first heard about Your Game from one of my mentors (Dominic Weir) who told me about the tournament and the opportunities to get some of my ideas out there as a youth worker. It sounded like fun even though my football is not too good. So I went, played, didn't score a goal but scored some life changing links which I am now involved in.

As an All Star I had to fly the flag not only for the BBC, but for my community and my country when we went over to Switzerland for Euro 2008 and the social inclusion conference. We had a lot to do, but still have a lot to do.

I have always believed that the sky is the limit but this experience has just solidified that for me! I have an ambition to be able to give young people what I never had, whether that is music or sport. I want to give back to my community and make a living out of doing so.

I have managed to gain a whole heap of training from Chartstage to do my job better, found out information and have secured priceless links to boost my community projects and for me as a person I have job opportunities in the BBC.

Above all I want to live my life to the maximum and grab hold of every opportunity. The BBC is making this all possible so I'd like to say thank you for this opportunity. I will not let you down.

Natasha Wilson

I am a volunteer football coach for the FA Hat-trick project in Newcastle. I have been volunteering just over two years and I go into primary schools and deliver football to young people so when they grow up they have some idea about football. I am also an assistant for a U11 boys team and I am a manager for a U10 girls team.

I organised a group of girls to play in this year's Newcastle festival and I was a pitch side volunteer for the Your Game final in Birmingham.

The impact of the All Star programme has had on me is I have learnt a lot from the other members and their experiences about their city and the projects they work in.

I'm looking forward to staying involved and making the changes I want to see in my region and will really benefit from all this networking and meeting people from all over and from different projects or companies.

My personal ambition is to develop my project and to make a change to several parts of my region and engage more people in sport and try my hardest to engage girls, young people from cultural backgrounds and young people from difficult backgrounds.

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see also
What is Your Game?
23 May 08 |  Your Game
Birmingham dominates Your Game finale
20 May 08 |  Your Game
The 2007 Your Game All Stars
11 Sep 07 |  Your Game
'A day to make Nottingham proud'
04 Apr 08 |  Your Game

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