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It is that time of year again when Brighton & Hove Albion fans are being asked to vote for who they think should win the annual Albion in the Community Award.

Albion in the Community (AITC) staff have nominated six finalists from among the 40,000 people the charity worked with in the last 12 months.

Fans are now being asked to vote for the person they think most deserves to win the Albion in the Community Award.

Voting will run until Monday 4 March and the winner will be announced...

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Vote for who you want to win the 2018/19 Albion in the Community Award

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It is that time of year again when Brighton & Hove Albion fans are being asked to vote for who they think should win the annual Albion in the Community Award.

Albion in the Community (AITC) staff have nominated six finalists from among the 40,000 people the charity worked with in the last 12 months.

Fans are now being asked to vote for the person they think most deserves to win the Albion in the Community Award.

Voting will run until Monday 4 March and the winner will be announced at the club’s end of season players’ awards.

Vote now online HERE.

The finalists are…

Name: Dave Bowen

Programme: Speak Up Against Cancer

Dave Bowen is one of a group of volunteers who regularly give up their time to help Albion in the Community share vital cancer awareness messages with people across Brighton and Hove. Having previously undergone treatment for cancer, he shares his own experiences as a way of encouraging others to act if they find themselves exhibiting any signs and symptoms.

As part of AITC’s Speak Up Against Cancer team, Dave is working hard to improve local early detection rates and has already clocked up almost 100 hours volunteering at more than 50 local events; he has also personally met with 1,167 people – sharing lifesaving messaging with each one.

A Seagulls supporter, Dave began watching the team from the East Stand at the Goldstone as a child, and was nominated for this award by AITC’s Carolyn Phelps. “Dave spreads our message in a friendly, supportive, yet professional manner, using his sense of humour when appropriate,” she said. “He has invested lots of time and effort into the project and even has his own catch-phrase: cancer is a word, not a sentence.”

 

Name: Dave Newbery

Programme: Albion Goals

Dave Newbery began attending football sessions with Albion in the Community(AITC) four years ago. At the time he was recovering from heroin addiction, had experienced periods of homelessness and was looking for a way to become more physically active and expand his support network.

A regular at AITC’s Albion Goals programme, which provides free football sessions to help players fine-tune life skills, Dave has not only become more active, but also sustained his recovery from addiction.

He has completed a leadership course with AITC and represented England at a tournament with the Homeless FA. He is now a passionate advocate for the charity’s work, encouraging other people to join Albion Goals and supporting those players who find themselves in a similar situation to the one he was in when he first-engaged with AITC.

Dave was nominated by Martin Schooley, AITC’s inclusion manager, who said: “Dave is a great example of the impact the programme can have, he has done brilliantly.”

 

Name: Seb Finch

Programme: Brighton & Hove Albion Powerchair FC

Seb Finch is the longest serving player in the Brighton & Hove Albion Powerchair FC (BHAPFC) squad, having represented BHAPFC for seven seasons.

The team, which compete in the Muscular Dystrophy UK Premiership, are one of four disability-specific teams who compete in national leagues on behalf of Albion in the Community (AITC) and last season they finished third in the country, having previously played in the powerchair equivalent of the Champions League.

Seb is a superb example of the progress made by the entire squad – and how much it means to AITC’s players to represent the Albion.

He has gone on to clock up more than 200 appearances for BHAPFC and is one of the squad’s most-popular players.

Seb was nominated by Paul Brackley, who said: “Seb is our longest-serving powerchair player and has been a key part of the squad since it launched. Not only is Seb a talented player, he is also a supportive and encouraging teammate and his passion for the squad and the sport is unrivalled.”

 

Name: Layla Greenyer

Programme: Premier League Kicks

Layla Greenyer is a regular at Albion in the Community’s (AITC) Premier League Kicks sessions – and has been for more than five years. She attends both a mixed session and girls-only session which take place at the Manor Gym in Whitehawk on a weekly basis. She is also the only girl to play in a team of Premier League Kicks participants, Wellesley FC, who compete in a local junior football league.

She has also completed a range of qualifications with AITC – qualifications she is now putting to good use in her local community. Layla helps AITC’s coaches at local sessions and has become a positive and supportive role model for the younger participants. Away from AITC she has volunteered at a range of local events, including an annual Christmas tea run for older people at risk of isolation during the festive period.

Layla was nominated by AITC’s Tony Silsby, who said: “Layla is an exceptionally-valued member of her community in Whitehawk, and is someone who is working hard to make her community a better place for everyone who is part of it.”

 

Name: Izzy Marr

Programme: Football session for player’s with Down’s syndrome

Izzy Marr began attending sessions with AITC back in 2011 and has been a regular ever since. The 17-year-old has Down’s syndrome and a range of other challenging conditions, including sleep apnoea, which causes her to stop breathing for ten seconds or more 45 times every hour throughout the night. She has no depth of vision and has hypertonia, which means her muscles don’t develop as well as they should.

Izzy, however, does not let any of those challenges stop her from enjoying football. Attending sessions with AITC is the highlight of her week and, according to her family, being part of the charity’s disability programme has not only boosted Izzy’s confidence, but given her a sense of belonging.

She loves Brighton & Hove Albion and relishes the opportunity to wear the club’s kit and represent AITC on the pitch.

Izzy was nominated by AITC’s Phil Broom, who said: “Izzy’s love of football is clear to everyone and she is always so full of enthusiasm and incredibly positive. She is an absolute pleasure to coach.”

 

Name: Faye Williams

Programme: post-16 football and education; FA talent hub for players with a hearing impairment

Faye Williams is a fantastic example of someone who won’t let anything stand in their way of achieving their goals.

She began attending sessions with AITC having previously struggled to find anywhere to play regular football. The teenager, who has a hearing impairment, impressed and was subsequently accepted onto a national talent programme aimed at identifying potential future internationals and providing them with expert coaching.

Her performances on the pitch, however, are just part of the reason Faye has been nominated for the Albion in the Community Award. Keen to progress into further education, she signed up for AITC’s post-16 football and education course. She is now the only girl among 80 students currently studying on the charity’s two full-time sports diploma courses, which combine academic study with daily futsal training and competitive fixtures. Thriving in the alternative academic setting provided by AITC, Faye was also chosen to represent the charity at the Football Remembers tournament in Ypres, Belgium, held to commemorate the Armistice centenary.

She was nominated by AITC’s Sarah McAdam, who said: “Faye is an incredibly resilient and committed individual who has impressed everyone with her determination to overcome barriers in order to succeed.”