Each season Albion in the Community is asked to nominate two players – one from within both senior squads – who deserve particular praise for their attitude towards community work.
This year the club’s official charity chose Fern Whelan from the FA Women’s Super League squad and Glenn Murray from among the Premier League team.
Murray was nominated in recognition of the leading role he played in setting up the club’s Albion As One campaign with club captain Lewis Dunk. The squad wanted to come together and do something to support the local community during the Covid-19 crisis and Murray and Dunk worked closely with the football club and Albion in the Community to establish the fund.
The Premier Leagues squad and club’s directors launched the campaign with a substantial donation of more than £260,000 and since then fans have also contributed, taking the total raised to more than £370,000 – money which has had a significant impact on many local charities here in Sussex.
Whelan, who has been a regular visitor to Albion in the Community’s sessions throughout her time with the Seagulls, has spoken openly about the challenges with stress and anxiety which she has experienced at times during her career – an openness which research shows can have a hugely positive impact on young people.
Matt Dorn, Albion in the Community’s chief executive officer, was full of praise for both players.
He said, “Every season it is a real pleasure to be able to nominate two players to receive special thanks for the support they have provided the community.
“As chief executive of Albion in the Community I see first-hand not only how keen Albion players are to get involved in community work, but also what an amazing impact that involvement can have.
“As a senior player within the Premier League squad, Glenn has led by example throughout the recent Covid-19 crisis. The leadership shown by him and Lewis – and the generosity of the entire squad – has directly helped thousands of people here in Sussex at a time when many charities and individuals have needed support more than ever.
“Fern is an equally-deserving winner. Always incredibly supportive of the work we do at Albion in the Community and a fantastic role model to the young people we work.
“We also know that seeing role models and athletes talk about their own experiences can have a huge influence on young people experiencing challenges with their own mental health and make them more likely to access support; I have no doubt that Fern’s willingness to talk publicly about her mental health will have had such an impact.
“One of our key objectives as a charity is also to increase the number of girls in Sussex who are playing football, and having such a passionate, articulate, engaging, and encouraging advocate as Fern has been a real boost.
“Congratulations to Glenn and Fern and thank you to all the players who have supported us over the last 12 months.”