Brighton & Hove Albion has won The Football League Trust Best Community Project award at the 2010 Football League Awards incorporating FourFourTwo's Top 50 Football League Players for their 'Making A Difference' Disability project.
The club received the award at a gala dinner at Grosvenor House, Park Lane on Sunday evening in front of 900 attendees from clubs, sponsors and the football industry.
'Making A Difference' gives disabled children and adults the chance to play football in clubs, schools and day centres as well as offering them the opportunity to play in local, regional and national competitions. Through such hard work they have created numerous successful partnerships and so helped over 4,283 individuals with disabilities and special needs.
Brighton have provided life changing and enhancing experiences by effectively using football as a healthy recreation for all the children and adults involved, whilst helping them build confidence and raise self esteem. What the judges particularly liked about this community project was the important support the scheme offers to the parents of the youngsters with special needs. The project gives parents the help and support they need as well as giving them the opportunity to create friendships with other parents and create a network of support. The specialist coaching available for wheelchair users, the visually impaired and those with hearing difficulties not only improves their basic physical and life skills, the coaches provide positive role models through the coaching and mentoring system.
Mark Blakemore, a member of the judging panel said that "Brighton & Hove Albion have an outstanding project; it's a well organised and far ranging programme of activities that enables over 4,000 participants to build confidence, improve health and take an active role in the community."
On collecting the award, Teresa Sanders said: "For the club to be recognised for our achievements with young people we are absolutely honoured to receive this. It is the culmination of 15 years of hard work and dedication by the club and the board, all of our staff and coaches.
"But most importantly from our players some of which have been there since we started in 1997 on our first ever session. We are taking the award for them and their parents because they are the people that are really important to our community scheme."
Alongside Brighton's disability programme, four other clubs were also recognised as having the best project in each of the other six core themes of The Football League Trust. The clubs achieving this were Huddersfield Town for Sports Participation, Notts County for Health, Rotherham United for Social Inclusion and Southend United for both Education and Environment.