Having ditched the pitch – playing on it at least – former football star Seb Rowe (34) has been recognised as a Stockport business champion, changing lives in Stockport.
The ex-Bury and US club player, now the newly appointed Assistant Head of Operations for leading sport and fitness social enterprise company Life Leisure, is one of only four contenders shortlisted to be named ‘Rising Star’ at the Stockport Business Awards taking place this Autumn.
Dad of one, Seb, joined Life Leisure as a Football Development Officer back in 2009 with the aim of making sport, and particularly football, more accessible for local people of all ages and abilities. His numerous accolades since then speak to his success.
Responsible for transforming Stockport Sports Village into a leading North West Football Centre, used by over 5,000 players each week, the 34 year old has implemented and run numerous community sport programmes, led successful tenders to expand Life Leisure’s facilities (including its first external contract out of the Stockport area), and was a driving force behind the establishment of Sector-3.
Sector-3 is a network aimed at creating more opportunities for third sector organisations in Stockport to communicate more effectively and collaborate on common social-good goals.
In his spare time, Seb also helped set up and secure North West Counties league status for Stockport Town Football Club where he has served as chairman for 4 years – one of the youngest in the UK.
Commenting on Seb’s achievements, Life Leisure’s Group CEO Malcolm McPhail said:
“I’m not surprised that Seb has been shortlisted as one of Stockport’s Rising Stars. He has a skill and passion for making sport and community plans, happen – the outcomes from which are truly changing lives.
“He also has a unique head for business development which has seen him become a vital part of our senior management team, a champion in our business, and a key figure in Stockport’s third sector community. I’m so pleased his contributions have been recognised.”
Seb’s reputation for “making sport and community plans happen” also saw him seconded to Stockport Council to lead on work to plan for and open the new Brinnington Park Complex, a facility designed to provide much needed career, leisure, health and wellbeing opportunities to the neighbourhood.
Reflecting on his ‘rising star’ status, Seb said:
“I’m absolutely thrilled but in a way it’s a bit strange. To me I’m just doing what I love to the best of my ability.
“Whilst playing football I always had an eye on working in sport, health and fitness. I felt I could influence more as an administrator than I could as a player. When I finished my career, I was troubled by the lack of opportunities and support for football at a local level. Joining Life Leisure was the best decision I ever made because in doing that I’ve been able to blend business development with helping people make football, sport and activity a bigger part of their lives. The support I’ve had from Life Leisure has been amazing so hopefully I can use the opportunities I’ve had to inspire others too.”