A teenage girl from Oldham has received a national award in recognition of her driving transformational changes within girls' football.

Laila Stanley claimed the Inspirational Female Leader award at the Youth Sport Trust Young Changemaker Awards which was held at St Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster.

The 16-year-old, who is a budding goalkeeper with Bolton Wanderers, won the award after setting up her own after-school football club and organising a borough-wide tournament which saw nine schools compete.

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After participating in the Barclays Girls' Football School Game Changer programme by England Football, delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, Laila initiated a girls' football club, coached her peers, and organised successful events.

This included delivering an impressive speech to Year 7 girls which prompted dozens of girls to sign up to her classes.

The youngster then set up a Snapchat group with all of the girls to ensure they knew when training was, what they would be working on and so the girls had a platform to raise any questions.

Laila also interviewed and nominated her successors, sharing her passion and igniting the spark within others to realise that they too can play.

The teenager's infectious passion and dedication led to dramatically increased participation and has left a remarkable legacy at her high school, Waterhead Academy, before moving on to Bolton College.

Upon winning the award, Laila said: “I’m over the moon and have been a bit overwhelmed, it doesn’t feel real.

“I wanted to be a goalkeeper but now I want to be a coach because I just love it and want to do it full-time.

“Some of the people I coached ended up crying when I was leaving school, they were finding me to say one last goodbye and begging me to stay.”

The Youth Sport Trust Young Changemaker Awards recognise young people from across the UK and internationally who’ve worked alongside the charity to use the power of Sport and Play, to make a real impactful change to their lives and the lives of others.

A host of sporting stars presented awards to the seven winners including Dame Katherine Grainger, the first British woman to win medals at five successive Olympic games and seven-time Paralympic Champion Hannah Cockroft OBE, among a star-studded guest list.

The Oldham Times: Laila Stanley (left) inspired and trained dozens of girls in football Laila Stanley (left) inspired and trained dozens of girls in football (Image: Youth Sport Trust)

Laila received her award from Harlequins Rugby player Shaunagh Brown.

In response to Laila’s story, Shaunagh said: “There are so many incredible young people out there, there is so much talent, we just need to celebrate it more often.

“Laila’s story is more than just an award it’s the experience of being recognised and being celebrated.

"Some days you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall and days like this spur you on to go a bit more and it really ignites the fire in someone’s belly.”

The Young Changemaker Awards were preceded by an announcement earlier in the day that Sir Mo Farah has partnered with the charity as their new National School Sport Champion.

Together, the Youth Sport Trust and Sir Mo launched Mo’s Mission to ensure that all young people are active in line with the UK Chief Medical Officer’s recommended minimum of ‘60 minutes a day - of PE, Sport and Play’.

Mo’s Mission is underpinned by the Youth Sport Trust’s new manifesto for change which sets out five key recommendations to create a nation of active and well schools which give every child the chance to be active for at least 60 minutes day. 

Got a story? Email me Olivia.bridge@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on Twitter @Livbridge