AFC Wimbledon Receive Top Recognition

Big Society Award for our local football team

AFC Wimbledon have received the Prime Minister's Big Society Award to recognise their work for the community.

Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson, visited the Cherry Red Records Stadium to recognise Wimbledon as the latest winner of the award.

He said: "In a sense, AFC Wimbledon is a perfect example of what we want to create across sport. The link between the the team at the top end and the community is so strong here.

"One of the things that is difficult about English football is that there are so many ownership issues and it is difficult to say what works and what does not. But there is no doubt that the achievements of AFC Wimbledon in such a short space of time are extraordinary and is a remarkable tribute to the club, its supporters, and the community."

Since the club's formation in 2002, its officials, supporters and 300 volunteers have organised a number of community initiatives. Activities have included improving literacy in young adults, putting on art classes for those local people with learning difficulties, and providing football skills coaching in the community.

Community volunteer, Clive Yelf, has been instrumental in our recent projects, most notably with the Big Brass band's production of "We are Wimbledon", created after a link-up with High Path Learning Disabilities Centre, South Wimbledon, and the Merton Music Foundation

Mr Robertson also acted as a starter for Marie Miller's lap of the pitch with goalkeeper Seb Brown, which has raised funds for Sport Relief.

Marie (left), a young woman with learning disabilities, attends the High Path Day Centre. She helped create the initial design for the High Path Super Dons flag and she has also been involved with the Big Brass band.

Marie, who was presented with a certificate from Mr Robertson, said: "I have been really looking forward to today as I am an AFC Wimbledon fan and the weather turned out great. The run was not as hard as I expected though."

Seb Brown said: "She started off at quite a fast pace - I was expecting a canter. But she did really well to get around the way she did. We as a club have done a lot more events and initiatives this season. Some of the boys were down helping with the Wimbledon song yesterday and helping in the community is definitely something that we can do more of."

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April 2, 2012