Albion in the Community (AITC) celebrated a hat-trick of awards at the weekend – taking home three prizes at The Argus Community Stars Awards.
AITC was short-listed in three categories at The Argus newspaper’s annual awards and won all three.
The charity won the coveted Contribution to Sussex Sport category at the ceremony in recognition of its work in providing sporting opportunities for local people living with disabilities.
AITC is now the largest provider of disability sport in Sussex and in the last year alone its coaches delivered almost 3,000 hours of disability sport coaching. It has a host of teams competing both regionally and nationally and runs around 40 disability sport clubs across the county.
One of the charity’s most-successful teams is its powerchair squad and the team’s captain, Matt Francis, was another award winner – being named Young Sports Star of the Year.
Matt, 17, was named as one of the top ten powerchair players in the country last season and was invited to St George’s Park to take part in squad training with England. With the World Cup taking place next year, he is being widely tipped to represent his country in the tournament.
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Also on the three-person short-list with eventual winner Matt was Kyle Woolven, who is studying on AITC’s BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport. Kyle has overcome problems with his ear which impacted on his balance. He had part of his inner ear rebuilt, but that has not stopped him scoring 500 goals in local football by the time he was 15.
Completing AITC’s hat-trick of award wins was Jadey Yesilada, who was deservedly named Community Star of the Year.
Jadey, who has cerebral palsy, became involved with AITC 15 years ago and since then he has become more and more involved with the charity’s work. The 23-year-old wanted to do something to help create similar opportunities for other people – and thus Jadey’s Dream was born.
Jadey was determined to play his part in the fundraising. Together with AITC’s chief operating officer Gary Townsend, he completed the Brighton Marathon and the Brighton to Paris cycle ride – with Gary pushing Jadey round the marathon route in a specially designed chair, and pulling him behind his bike in a similar chair en route to the French capital.
Jadey Dream has raised more than £200,000 after 12 months of fundraising and he is now regularly visiting universities and colleges to deliver lectures on disability awareness.
Gary Townsend, AITC’s chief operating officer, said, “To be short-listed for three different categories was brilliant – to win all three really is amazing.
“Every single person connected with AITC should be incredibly proud of these achievements.”