Celebrating the 2021/22 season at AITC - Albion In The Community
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Title Partner
09 June 2022

Celebrating the 2021/22 season at AITC

Celebrating the 2021/22 season at AITC

While the Seagulls had a great season on the pitch, Albion in the Community has been busy making a difference in communities across Sussex throughout 2021/22.

By the time the season had kicked off, the country was itching to get back to normal after the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Albion in the Community, having spent the previous year delivering many sessions online, was once again ready to deliver football sessions to tens of thousands of people across Sussex.

Without skipping a beat, AITC resumed its work as one of the leading community schemes in English football.

That hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed either, with the charity being honoured by the Howard League for Penal Reform, for the work AITC has done with Sussex Police on the Switch mentoring programme, while also winning a Health Equity Award for the Brighter Outlook project.

For the seventh consecutive year, Albion in the Community was shortlisted as Best Football Community Scheme at the prestigious Football Business Awards.

The external recognition go, in some way, to show how important AITC is to so many people here in Sussex, and how the togetherness of the charity, the football club and the players can have a hugely positive impact on our local communities.

At the beginning of the season, Adam Lallana and Victoria Williams were announced as AITC’s men’s and women’s player ambassadors – a position both players also held last season.

This role sees them represent the charity within their squads, help support the work of the charity, and use their profiles as Premier League and WSL stars to make a real difference in local communities.

AITC work with tens of thousands of children and young people each year. This includes providing opportunities for everyone to play football, including people with a disability, working in schools to improve numeracy, literacy and life skills, and delivering programmes to help people lose weight and get physically active.

AITC has also been supported once again by the charity’s official patron: former club captain Bruno.

The current first-team coach has lent his support to a number of campaigns including the More Than Football programme, which uses the power of football to help bring men together and improve their mental health. He also became a key supporter of the Community Champions project, which rewards AITC’s loyal fundraisers.

Albion legend Guy Butters has also supported the charity this season with ambassadorial duties and appearances at various fundraising events.

Meanwhile, club ambassador Glenn Murray surprised pupils at Brighton’s Fairlight Primary School when he made an appearance during an AITC Soccer STEM session, which was filmed by the BBC and shown on Match of the Day.

When AITC held a boot appeal in February and March this year, a host of Albion players wanted to lend their support.

The appeal was launched after AITC identified that a growing number of children at our sessions couldn’t afford appropriate footwear to take part. The new pairs of boots are now being given to participants involved in AITC’s Premier League Kicks free football programme, to families who need them the most.

Neal Maupay, Tariq Lamptey, Robert Sanchez, Steven Alzate, Alexis Mac Allister and Adam Lallana all donated their personal boots to the appeal, while Maya Le Tissier and Victoria Williams from the women’s first team also donated theirs.

The younger members of the Albion set-up were also keen to get involved with their local communities.

Several members of the under-18s squad – including captain Ben Jackson and left back Zak Sturge – visited the soccer school at Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton and organised an action-packed session, which focused on all the key areas of football, such as shooting, passing, and dribbling.

When Albion players visit Albion in the Community sessions they have a huge impact on the people they meet.

That is particularly evident among the younger children at community football sessions and in the classroom; AITC can make a massive impression through the power of the Albion brand and use that to make a positive impression on their lives.

Over the course of the season, the charity has worked with more than 9,000 pupils across 104 schools in Sussex, helping children get active and better engaged with their academic studies through football-themed lessons in subjects like numeracy and literacy.

Dozens of children also visited the Amex Stadium in April when AITC hosted the Premier League Inspires event, which saw pupils from across the south-east visit for a day of education and activities regarding social action.

This year is an important one for women’s football in this country, with the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 being hosted here in England.

The Amex Stadium itself will be hosting matches, including one game featuring the Lionesses. AITC are working to use this high-profile tournament to engage as many women and girls as possible with the power of football.

The charity is working on creating a lasting legacy from the tournament, with a wide range of different projects targeted at local women and girls.

In April, dozens of women and girls in AITC’s disability football programme were given free pairs of Nike boots and free Brighton & Hove Albion kit as part of this project.

AITC’s community programmes continue to reach thousands of people across Sussex. Programmes like Brighton & Hove Albion Soccer Schools, Premier League Kicks, and AITC’s sessions for people with a disability, have continued to be very popular.

Hundreds of young people have taken part in AITC’s Premier League Kicks sessions: weekly football training and mentoring, held at venues across Sussex and targeting areas of high need.

As part of this project, dozens of teenagers also took part in a programme called Top Bins, which gives those involved targets to work towards, to help them become positive members of their local communities.

Throughout the season, almost 1,200 people with a disability benefited from the charity’s support.

AITC has a wide range of programmes and schemes to support people with a disability, including the charity’s inclusive community football sessions, educational work in Special Educational Needs schools, and through AITC’s disability football talent pathway.

The disability football pathway has had an especially successful year, with 30 AITC players earning international call-ups for their respective national sides.

Four AITC players have been called up to the England Men’s Blind Football team, who are due to play in the Blind Football European Championships in Italy this summer; while Brighton & Hove Albion Blind FC celebrated its debut this year, and has already qualified for the FA Disability Cup Final at St George’s Park in June.

Dozens of young people have also gained qualifications through their work with the charity’s further education team. Also this season, AITC has launched a number of projects designed to improve people’s health, including the Health Kick project in Worthing and Adur, to help 18-25 year-olds get fit and healthy in a supportive environment.

Looking back at the past season, AITC chief executive Matt Dorn has been quick to praise the hard work his team have put in throughout the campaign.

“Over the past year we’ve seen AITC go from strength to strength as we began to operate at full capacity once again,” he said. “It is thanks to the tireless work from our fantastic team at AITC that we’ve been able to carry on changing lives in communities across Sussex.”

For more information about what we do at AITC, visit https://albioninthecommunity.org.uk/about-us/about/who-we-are/

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