Albion in the Community (AITC) is asking Seagulls fans to vote for one of 11 people connected with the charity to win a new end of season award.
AITC has launched the new award to celebrate the individual who best-represents the charity’s work and the impact it has in the local area.
Over the last year AITC has worked with more than 30,000 people across Sussex and now delivers around 60 different programmes and projects.
These fall into a number of key focus areas, including: disability; schools; social inclusion; health; further education; and football development.
A panel of AITC employees have put forward 11 nominees for the inaugural Albion in the Community Award and fans will now be asked to vote for the one they want to win.
Details of how to vote can be found further down this page in bold text.
The nominees, and the areas they have worked with AITC in, are as follows:
Lauren Bell (further education; apprenticeships): Lauren has completed two apprenticeships with AITC while working with Wave Leisure at Peacehaven Leisure Centre where she also trained as a fitness instructor and exercise class instructor. Lauren recently successfully applied to join the police. She was nominated by Vicky Franklin, apprenticeship and employability manager at AITC. She said: “Lauren has been extremely professional and hard-working through all the programmes she has completed with AITC. Her determination to succeed is displayed in her efforts to get into the police and I believe she will go far.”
Trevor Smith (health; Brighter Outlook and Speak Up Against Cancer): Trevor had prostate cancer and completed radiotherapy in 2015. Having been involved with the charity’s physical activity programme for people with an experience of cancer, he now volunteers with the charity to help others spot the signs and symptoms of cancer. AITC’s health manager Siobhan Meaker is one of Trevor’s biggest fans and nominated him for the award. She said: “Trevor is a real Albion man, first going to a game as a young boy back in 1967. He has followed the team through thick and thin; so when prostate cancer hit, we were delighted that we could be there for him. He thrived on our Brighter Outlook physical activity project, gaining more confidence in activity and trying walking football too, before training to be volunteer on our Speak Up Against Cancer work.
“Trevor now shares his story of cancer to encourage local people to spot the early signs and symptoms. We know that men find it harder to speak up and ask for help with their health, so having such a true fan so willingly ready to share his life experience is hugely valuable for our projects. He would be a worthy winner.”
Gary Bartley (inclusion; Albion Goals): Gary is currently in rehabilitation and is engaged with AITC’s adult social inclusion project Albion Goals as part of his recovery. He has volunteered on the project and is always a positive influence. He is instrumental in recruiting new participants and has also successfully completed his Sport Leaders Level 1 qualification with AITC. He was nominated by AITC’s inclusion manager, Martin Schooley, who said: “Gary is a longstanding and committed member of the group who has made great strides both physically and socially since he has engaged on the programme. He is now a lot fitter and healthier than when he first started and has gained in confidence which he has used to help benefit less confident members.”
Steve Menzies (football development): Steve started with AITC taking part in the charity’s football sessions from the age of 12. Now he is part of AITC’s coaching team, delivering over 30 coaching hours a week. Mark Pedrick, AITC’s football pathway manager, put Steve forward for the award. He said: “Steve’s success is testament to how hard he has worked as a young coach to progress. I believe he is a great example of how AITC should be represented and someone that has worked hard for the opportunities that have come his way.”
Callum Budd (disability): Callum plays for AITC’s cerebral palsy team and has also helped fundraise for the charity as a member of the North West Sussex Seagulls. The money he has raised has helped fund AITC’s cerebral palsy team and he has also helped out at a new disability football session in Horsham. Being part of AITC has had a big impact on Callum and he has now also been doing some public speaking about the power of sport. AITC’s disability manager, Paul Brackley, nominated Callum for the award. He said: “Callum is a great example of someone who has embraced the opportunity to play cerebral palsy football in the national league for Brighton & Hove Albion Cerebral Palsy FC and has progressed enormously since he joined last year. He is incredibly passionate about his football – supporting and now representing the Albion. Polite, considerate and supportive team mate, Callum is a real team player.”
Faye Williams (disability): Faye struggled to find anywhere to play football until linking up with AITC. Since joining the charity’s deaf football session she has flourished and has recently been accepted onto the FA’s Emerging Talent programme. Faye was the second player nominated by AITC’s disability manager Paul Brackley. He said: “Faye is a bright footballer with exceptional potential. After being selected for AITC’s FA regional talent centre for deaf players, she quickly embraced the programme and progressed rapidly despite not playing football regularly prior to joining. Faye is a quiet player who leads by example on the pitch, showing an exceptional natural ability and fearless attitude.”
Morgan Taylor (inclusion; Premier League Kicks): Morgan has been engaged with AITC’s Premier League Kicks programme since the age of six and is a fantastic example of the positive impact the programme can have on young people. AITC’s inclusion manager, Martin Schooley, is confident Morgan would be a worthy winner of the award. He said: “It has been particularly enjoyable to have seen Morgan’s journey so far and to be honest I’m proud to have been a part of it. Morgan is becoming a mature young man who has learnt to manage his temper and view loss or failure as a positive opportunity to improve. He has also been able to share this positivity with others. Morgan’s has every opportunity to become successful at whatever he chooses to do.”
Tony Silsby (schools and inclusion): Tony is a coach who has been instrumental in supporting the implementation and development of the charity’s PE CPD offer to schools. He is also a key member of the inclusion team. Paul Williams, AITC schools manager, nominated Tony. He said: “Our community coaches are out delivering in schools and communities across Sussex every day, creating opportunities for young people to get active, to learn and to help raise their aspirations. Any organisation is only as good as its front line staff and Tony embodies everything we want our community coaches to be. Tony also leads weekly football sessions in some of the most-deprived parts of the south coast. He goes above and beyond what’s expected of him. He works hard, cares hugely about the young people who attend his sessions and most importantly he delivers fantastic sessions that have a huge impact on the teachers, school pupils and teenagers involved.”
Keith and Darren Gallis and Seagull Travel (fundraising): Seagull Travel is a big supporter of AITC and its work. The company has made a sizeable donation to the charity in support of its new amputee football team and its customers are encouraged to make donations when booking travel. Keith is also instrumental in running the match day lotteries that contribute to AITC and has helped organise a fundraising event at the Theatre Royal. Phil Baldwin, AITC’s head of finance and operations, said: “Seagull Travel is an excellent example of the valuable support we receive from local businesses and Keith and Darren regularly go above and beyond in the help they offer the charity.”
Callum Ronald (BTEC): Callum travels from Battle to the stadium every day to attend his BTEC lessons with AITC. He has not missed a day of college in two years and is on target to achieve the highest grade possible. He has also volunteered at a range of events with fundraising. Sarah McAdam, AITC’s BTEC manager, nominated Callum. She said: “Callum has thrived in our alternative education environment. He has worked hard to improve his knowledge, understanding and application in both futsal and 11-a-side football and is now a regular feature in teams across both formats. Despite having to travel from Battle every day, Callum has maintained excellent attendance. He would be a worthy winner of the Albion in the Community Award.”
Charles Batt (fundraising): Charles is one of the American Express volunteers on a programme run in partnership with AITC and regularly volunteers at AITC’s inclusion and disability football tournaments. Charles was nominated by Emma Cook, AITC’s fundraising manager, who said: “Charles has been one of Gully’s Days Out’s most-dedicated volunteers and he has developed a strong rapport with many of the Gully’s Days Out members and their families. Charles’ unwavering support provides invaluable respite for parents and carers and he always goes above and beyond to encourage the members to engage in new experiences and ensure they thoroughly enjoy their days out. Last summer, Charles also turned his hand to volunteering at two American Express-sponsored football tournaments, one for people with Down’s syndrome and the other for young people from some of the most deprived areas of the city.”
Fans can vote for the winner online HERE and anyone who submits their details alongside their vote will be entered into a free prize draw to win one of Jamie Murphy’s signed, match issue Brighton & Hove Albion shirts.
Voting runs until Monday 6 March.
Matt Dorn, chief executive officer at AITC, said: “We work with so many people that it is impossible to celebrate each of them individually so we wanted to come up with a way to showcase some of the fantastic things some of the people we work with have achieved over the last 12 months.