Yorkshire Champions Group welcomes more people on board

Yorkshire Champions Group

A GROUP that works to inspire young people and open their eyes to the opportunities available to them has welcomed more people on board.

The Yorkshire Champions Group (YCG) founded by Gill Arnold JP DL, now boasts around 80 inspirational speakers from all walks of life. 

It originally began in Bradford but has now expanded. The free service sees speakers work with schools across the city and wider Yorkshire area.

Some of the latest members include Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bradford; Professor Zahir Irani, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the university; James Mason, CEO of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce; Sir David Wootton; West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin; Alison Lowe, Deputy Mayor of West Yorkshire for Policing and Crime; John Robins QPM DL, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire; Philip Davies MP, Dr Manoj Joshi MBE, and Reverend George Williams JP.

The Yorkshire Champions has also recently expanded to include ‘Sports Champions’ and has gone international.

Paul Harvey, CEO of Adiona insurance firm, is originally from the US and has joined the group, along with Adiona COO Ed Pound, who lives in Chicago and travels to the region regularly.

Mrs Arnold said: “Our young people and students, need to see all the options and opportunities that are available to them.

“We urge all schools to grasp this opportunity, to join the others and get fully involved. 

“Since the launch in 2017, excluding two years of Covid, the YCG have spoken to almost 16,000, which is rising daily.”

Mark Cowgill co-founder and director of Exa Networks said: “The work that the team do in helping young children across the district see what opportunities there are for them, and what paths we each took to get where we did, is vital for the city.”

Adrian Kneeshaw, CEO of Carlton Academy Trust, said the group had done some “magnificent work” in showing how students can succeed with hard work and belief in themselves.

Suzanne Watson, Managing Director of Approach PR and recently appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, added: “Sharing our experiences is one small but powerful contribution that I know I can make.

“And it is incredibly rewarding to be able to support the schools and the teachers in their tireless work to make a difference to their pupils’ futures.”

Professor Shirley Congdon said: “Through its initiatives the Yorkshire Champions Group is developing the confidence of young people and helping them to develop their strengths, make the most of opportunities, and realise their potential.”

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