Seagulls captain Bruno visits Albion in the Community session
Brighton & Hove Albion captain Bruno has spoken of his passion for charity work after joining Albion in the Community (AITC) at an employability and life skills workshop.
Bruno met participants from AITC’s Albion Goals programme earlier this week on the second day of a two-day workshop.
Albion Goals is a football employability project run by AITC which provides free weekly football sessions to adults throughout Sussex, delivered alongside lifestyle and job skills workshops.
The session this week was delivered by a speaker from Orbit, a national housing association which provides regular support for AITC’s inclusion programmes, and involved nine participants facing a range of social and personal challenges, including long-term unemployment, mental health conditions and learning disabilities.
Bruno spoke to participants about the importance of hard work, determination and being prepared to move outside your comfort zone in order to achieve your goals. He also took part in a question and answer session, during which he spoke about the various challenges he has overcome during his career in order to realise his ambition of playing Premier League football.
And there was a very personal reason for Bruno’s interest in the session. AITC receives funding from Common Goal, an initiative which sees football players, managers and supporters pledge to donate at least one per cent of their wages to help football charities. Bruno is one of the Common Goal players and the funding AITC now receives from the initiative helps pay for some Albion Goals sessions. It also enables AITC to provide participants with access to regular courses and qualifications.
But why was Bruno so keen to get involved with Common Goal? “I have been doing charities almost since I became a professional footballer,” he explained at the AITC session. “I have been lucky because my dad is a doctor and he has been going to Africa for the last 25 years. I’ve been seeing that since I was really, really young. I am really happy to try and help and to get involved.
“The club has been doing great with helping the community. I love the club and I love the city.”
And what does it meant to attend sessions like the one with AITC this week and see for himself the impact the charity – and his support via Common Goal – is having?
“For me, it means a lot,” he said. “Sometimes they (AITC) say thank you to me for coming, but I say thank you to them.
“Sometimes it seems selfish that you come and you feel really good doing good thing. But what they’re doing behind the scenes and how many people they’re helping, it’s incredible.”
Martin Schooley, AITC’s inclusion manager, was full of praise for the defender. He said: “Our participants really appreciated Bruno taking the time to come along and join the session – and I know they took a lot of inspiration from what he said.
“Our thanks go to Bruno for his continued support, and also to both Common Goal and Orbit for the support they provide us. Our programme is only the success it is as a result of that collaborative working.”