Brighton & Hove Albion fans are once again being asked to vote for who they want to win the Albion in the Community Award.
Each year Albion in the Community (AITC) celebrates the achievements of the people it works with by presenting one participant with the Albion in the Community Award.
This year AITC has short-listed six nominees from the 46,000 people it worked with over the last 12 months, and fans have until 4th March to vote for their favourite.
Fans can vote now at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BHAFCvote
The nominees 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 AITC. 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 personally met with 1,167 people – sharing lifesaving messaging with each one.
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.
Dave was nominated for this award by AITC’s Carolyn Phelps, who said: “Dave spreads our message in a friendly, supportive, yet professional manner, using his sense of humour when appropriate. 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 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, and supports other players who find themselves in a similar situation to the one he was in.
Dave was nominated by Martin Schooley, AITC’s inclusion manager, who said: “Dave is a great example of the impact the programme can have. Since his relapse, 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 compete in national leagues on behalf of AITC and last season 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 was nominated by AITC’s Paul Brackley, who said: “Seb has been a key part of the squad since it launched. Not only is he 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 has been a regular at AITC’s Premier League Kicks sessions for more than five years. She attends two sessions in Whitehawk and is the only girl to play in a team of Premier League Kicks participants who compete in a local junior league.
Layla has also completed a range of qualifications with AITC – qualifications she is now putting to good use in her local community. She helps AITC’s coaches at sessions and has become a supportive role model for younger participants. Away from AITC she volunteers at local events, including a tea run for older people at risk of isolation at Christmas.
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.”
Name: Izzy Marr
Programme: Football session for player’s with Down’s syndrome
Izzy Marr began attending sessions with AITC back in 2011. The 17-year-old has Down’s syndrome and sleep apnoea, which causes her to stop breathing more 45 times every hour throughout the night.
Izzy, however, does not let anything stop her 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
Faye Williams began attending AITC sessions having previously struggled to find anywhere to play regular football. The teenager, who has a hearing impairment, was subsequently accepted onto a national talent programme aimed at identifying future internationals.
Her performances on the pitch, however, are just part of the reason Faye has been nominated. Keen to progress into further education, she signed up for AITC’s post-16 football and education course and is now the only girl among 80 students currently studying on the charity’s sports diploma courses. Thriving in the alternative academic setting provided by AITC, Faye was also chosen to represent the charity at a tournament in Belgium, held to commemorate the Armistice centenary.
She was nominated by AITC’s Sarah McAdam, who said: “Faye is an incredibly resilient individual who has impressed everyone with her determination to overcome barriers in order to succeed.”