The Weston super Mare AFC Board were not surprised to receive the Player Involvement Award at the prestigious National League Awards Ceremony held during the League AGM at Celtic Manor Newport recently. £5000 goes to support the work of the community initiative. Board Chairman Paul Bliss said ‘we are so proud of the achievement that Seagulls in the Community have made in the last few years’
Geoff Stevens Community Manager commented:
‘The Seagulls in the Community are delighted to have won the award for best player involvement of a Community Programme for the National League.
Our community programme runs a variety of projects and sessions throughout the year and these include sessions around Healthy Living, Education, Sports Participation and social inclusion. We try to include as many of our first team players in our community programme where possible as it builds great relationships between the club and community and especially gives young people and families a sense of belonging and want to be involved.
The inclusion of first team players within the Community Programme not only strengthens the Community Trust’s profile but also that of the club and its profile within the Community.
We have seen a large impact that the Community Trust has had in our community. There is a great rapport with the players and young people and as well as the impact it has had in the schools we have also seen many of the young people attending fixtures and feel part of the club, especially when the players take the time out to acknowledge them and speak to them.
Our walking football programme has seen the benefit of the player’s involvement and we now see members of the group regularly attend match day fixtures and they are also pleased to see the players taking part and helping with their sessions.
During the summer we are involved in various Town events through the Council, local charity organisations, the Police and other local groups. The Football Club can be proud of its players taking part in community events, not only during the summer but at various times throughout the year.
By engaging the players within the community it has helped provide positive role models to young people and many of the older generation taking part in our projects are seen at the club on a regular basis and making it part of their social life.
We are starting to see more and more of the community young and old with the Weston kit, whether it’s in schools or at our outreach/club sessions, which can only be seen as a positive locally.
Our club captain Dayle Grubb has been working with the Community Trust over the last 2 years on various programmes that we run. We have also had Mark Mckeever (Assistant Manager), Syd Camper and Jake Llewellyn regularly working for the Trust in schools, on holiday courses and throughout many other projects. It has been great to see a mix of more experienced and younger players involved in coaching and assisting with our projects. Other players involved have included Tristan Plummer, Brad Ash (now at Barnsley), Jake Mawford, Jacob Cane, Luke Purnell, Dan Jackson, Will Sneddon-Coombs, Matt Trybull and Lewis Mclean. All have helped to have a positive effect with those that we work with.
The award money will go towards the purchase of a new van to assist our initiatives in the community.
A huge thank you to all those players that have contributed to this award and for their hard work and effort on and off the pitch.
Geoff is seen in the picture holding the cheque.