AFC Wimbledon of League 2 has become the first Football League club to receive one of the Government's Big Society Awards.

The awards are given to individuals or organisations or businesses that encourage local people to become more involved in their communities. The award was presented to Wimbledon Chairman Erik Samuelson by Sports Minister Hugh Robertson at the Kingsmeadow Stadium.

Wimbledon won the award for their work within their local community initiatives including a scheme to improve literacy in young adults, putting on art classes for local people with learning difficulties and providing football skills coaching in the community.

Speaking about AFC Wimbledon's Big Society Award Prime Minister David Cameron said: "The team behind AFC Wimbledon have not just given fans a local club to support, but much more than this, they have united a community, given them the chance to have a real stake in their club's future and made a huge difference to the lives of many people in the area at the same time.

"Football is a team game, and AFC Wimbledon have shown just what can happen when people don't just sit on the sidelines, but choose to get involved and really pull together."

Erik Samuelson, Chief Executive of AFC Wimbledon, said: "This club's achievements show that a co-operatively owned football club can be faithful to its high ethical standards, keep a keen focus on community involvement, be financially sustainable - and still be successful on the pitch. Everyone who has contributed to the club's success and this award should be very proud."

Clive Yelf, community volunteer at AFC Wimbledon, said: "In just 10 years AFC Wimbledon has redefined the expectations of others as to what ordinary football supporters working together can achieve. Being a community organisation ourselves, we can also recognise the importance of supporting and helping others to achieve their own aims and the fact that football has a strong position in our national culture and can help provide a common thread between groups and individuals."

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