Fulham Football Club Foundation celebrated its diverse volunteering projects yesterday by championing an event for all those who have participated in the charity’s schemes this year.

Fulham Football Club’s Motspur Park training ground hosted a day of activities with the main attraction, the ‘Big V Bus’, a double-decker vehicle used to promote volunteering initiatives which is  provided by ‘V’, a youth volunteering charity.

Club employees, current volunteers, children involved in summer holiday courses, local residents and some of the Foundation’s key partners adorned the bus during the day and got involved in some of the hi-tech activities the vehicle boasts.

Fulham FC Foundation delivers the Community Champions programme, funded by the Premier League Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Community Fund, Sport England and V, an independent charity aiming to inspire a new generation of young volunteers.

The aim of Community Champions is to increase the number of young people involved in sports based volunteering whilst helping to raise the profile of the initiative and highlighting the many available opportunities in volunteering, particularly ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Since the start of Community Champions in 2008, Fulham Football Club Foundation has worked with over 200 young volunteers aged between 14 and 25 by offering placements within the nine London and Surrey boroughs that the club serves. The volunteer posts have included football coaching in the community, social inclusion assignments and office based work and those taking part have all had an opportunity to develop a number of skills.

There was a special awards presentation for this year’s Community Champions volunteers, compered by distinguished BBC Sport presenter, John Inverdale, which recognised the positive work carried out by the volunteers within the local community, commending candidates for their efforts, great attitude and remarkable achievements.

Steve Day, CEO Fulham FC Foundation, said:

‘The awards are about celebrating and recognising the role our people play in making Fulham Football Club Foundation so successful. As an organisation, we deliver a wide range of programmes, engaging with over 30,000 young people each year. Our aim is to “build better lives through sport” and it is our staff, whether that be full-time, part-time, sessional or even volunteers, who inspire, motivate and engage such a diverse community and make our programmes so impactful and successful.  We are delighted to be able to utilise the inspiring location of the club’s training ground, together with the support of the Big V Bus and the Premier League, to recognise the achievements of our greatest assets, our people.’

Adrian Nosworthy – Browne, Community Champion and member of the Fulham FC Foundation Youth Forum, added:

‘It’s like a work environment in that you gain the experience and benefit from the building of relationships. Everything you need to progress in life you gain from volunteering’.

Fulham Football Club Foundation is currently inviting local young people between the ages of 14 and 25 to register for the forthcoming 2010-2011Community Champions campaign. For further information, please call: 0870 442 5432 or email: volunteering@fulhamfc.com

The winners of awards in the eight categories were:     

1. Volunteer of the Year  

Adrian Nosworthy-Browne from Lambeth

Adrian said:

“The award means a lot to me coming from such a prestigious club. It’s been a pleasure to work with the Foundation and all of the other volunteers. The benefits of volunteering are immense, the skills you learn, the positive relationships you build and gaining an understanding of the workings of an organisation are important in giving you the confidence to go out and find work.”

2. Young Volunteer of the Year

Amelia Dennis from Kingston

Amelia said:

“It is wonderful to be rewarded for all of the hard work throughout the year. I was responsible for encouraging girls at my school to join Fulham’s Aspire2Move in Kingston and it’s great to see how popular these sessions have now become.”

3. Coach of the Year

Joe Mead from Kingston

Joe said:

“It’s nice to receive recognition for the hard work. I have put a lot of effort in coaching this year and this award has provided me with confidence and gives me the incentive to really try even harder to progress.”

4. Team of the Year

‘Why let drink decide’ tournament winners from Merton and Lambeth (award received by Matthew Warren)

Matthew said:

“It’s been a very enjoyable experience and I’m delighted receive this award on behalf of the team. It has been great to train with the Foundation coaches and to feel part of the community project. The sessions have brought a lot of young people together.”

5. Most Improved Coach / Volunteer of the Year

Lucas Alzate from Kingston (unable to attend, award collected by Andrew Watt FFC Foundation Sport Development Officer for Kingston)

Lucas said:

“I’m delighted to be honoured with this award. I think I’m a good coach because I am still young. I am able to be a good communicator and feel that the fact that I’m young, kids are able to relate to me and I’m approachable to them.”

6. Young Coach of the Year

Gavin Jones from Merton

Gavin said:

“It is nice for an organisation to notice your contribution. If you aren’t based in the office you can often go unnoticed. It is great to be appreciated and rewarded for the good things you’re doing whilst volunteering.”

7. Outstanding Partner of the Year

Sandra Blenkinsop, Partnership Development Manager for Kingston School Sports Partnership

Sandra said:

“It’s great to be recognized for all of the work we do with Fulham and Kingston School Sports Partnership and the collaboration in helping to increase participation in sport amongst young people in the borough. It’s a whole team effort and I’m delighted to receive this award on behalf of the team.”

8. Fulham FC Foundation Values Award sponsored by FxPro

Chris Webb-Butler from Lambeth

Chris said:

“I starting volunteering two years ago and the experience has certainly helped me in my career as I have recently started full time paid employment with Fulham FC Foundation. There are so many skills that I have learnt through the Foundation and I’m glad that I was given an opportunity. I would recommend volunteering to any young person.”

Photo: FDFC’s Vice Chairman Leo Mansell, Ladies Manager Ryan Pendley,  Ladies Treasurer Viccy Paul Martin, Interpreter Gemma Armstrong and Chief Fundraiser Henry McDougall