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17 June 2024

How Albion players supported the Foundation in 23/24

How Albion players supported the Foundation in 23/24

Players from across Albion’s men’s and women’s first teams, as well as scholars in the academy, showed their support for the Foundation throughout the 2023/24 season.

It all began back in August last year, when players from across the club came together to help us spread the word about our name change (from Albion in the Community to the BHAFC Foundation.)

We had several first teamers – Joel Veltman, Poppy Pattinson, Jan Paul Van Hecke, Dejana Stefanovic and more – join us at a special disability football session where we unveiled our new name and logo.

Plenty of other players also chipped in by posing for a photo in a Foundation t-shirt, whether they were on holiday, in pre-season training, or on tour in the US.

Shortly after, we announced our official community ambassadors for the season.

For the 2023/24 season we were lucky to add Kaoru Mitoma, Vicky Losada, and Pauline Bremer as official ambassadors, while Joel Veltman continued the ambassadorship he started a year earlier.

As ambassadors they were tasked with taking a special interest in the Foundation, helping us to promote our activities and coming out to visit participants at sessions across Sussex.

Kaoru Mitoma and Joel Veltman with their arms around each other, wearing blue BHAFC Foundation tees.

Vicky and Pauline soon had their first appearances as ambassadors when they visited a girls’ Premier League Kicks session in Whitehawk.

Dozens of girls attend our Whitehawk PL Kicks session, which is free to attend for any girl in the local area.

Pauline and Vicky had a Q&A with the girls, gave them advice about a career in football, and even got stuck in by joining in their game at the end of the session.

The pair later visited a girls’ after-school club at Queen’s Park Primary school, where they acted as coaches to deliver some drills for the girls.

Madison Haley, a new arrival to the women’s first team in the summer, quickly introduced herself to the community.

In October Madison held an honest Q&A about the No Room For Racism campaign with secondary school girls from BACA, alongside some academy scholars.

Madison supported the Foundation multiple times across the season including a visit to a girls football tournament in Lancing, earning her a PFA Community Champion award in May.

Pascal Gross was also named as a PFA Community Champion for his support across the season.

Pascal and Adam Lallana both visited a smoothie-making masterclass for boys in the club’s academy system, to help inspire them to eat healthily and give their bodies proper nutrition.

As part of our World Braille Day celebrations, Pascal also sat down with a young partially-sighted boy for an interview, which the boy then went on to transcribe in Braille.

Later in the season, Pascal met with three young participants from Foundation programmes for a pre-match interview about his career and the No Room For Racism campaign.

In December, both our men’s and women’s first teams supported our Rainbow Laces campaign.

Both teams wore a special Albion Rainbow Laces tee during one of their pre-match warmups, and modelled the kit to help us promote the campaign further.

Bart Verbruggen and Dejana Stefanovic visited a Premier League Kicks session in January, playing in some games with the kids.

They also helped to promote the anti-knife crime workshops which are part of the programme; their visited was filmed by the BBC and broadcast on Match of the Day.

Veatriki Sarri and Tatiana Pinto both visited Hangleton Primary to make a special appearance in a school assembly, where they handed out books and spoke to the pupils about the importance of resilience.

Bart Verbruggen celebrates in front of a crowd of children wearing BHAFC foundation tees.

Both Carlos Baleba and AFCON winner Simon Adingra joined us for a disability football family fun day in Lancing.

Participants in our disability football programme were invited to bring down their parents, siblings, and cousins for a day of fun activities, and they were surprised by a special visit by Simon and Carlos at the end of the day.

The two players joined in with the family fun day, making it even more special for the families there.

The support wasn’t limited to current players; legends from Albion past also chipped in to help the Foundation last season.

In December we hosted ‘Christmas Lunch with Albion Legends’, a fundraising event where fans were invited to meet and chat with former Albion players including Guy Butters, Glenn Murray, Inigo Calderon, and Dani Bowman.

There were almost two dozen legends in attendance, also including: Alan Mullery, Kerry Mayo, Martin and Adam Hinshelwood, George Parris, Martin Perry, Steve Foster, Ian Chapman, Gary Chivers, Derek Chapman, John Keeley, John Byrne, and Dean Wilkins.

Future Albion stars also did their best to support the Foundation. As part of their ongoing development, scholars in the Albion academy have the opportunity to help deliver Foundation sessions.

Many of the scholars have been studying to pass the UEFA C coaching course; to gain some experience in coaching, they had to plan and deliver three coaching sessions at BHAFC Soccer Schools session at Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton.

Another group of scholars also went to Dorothy Stringer as referees, helping to officiate a tournament for the children.

The scholars have also supported the Foundation’s disability football programme; a group visited a Disability Elite Camp in Lancing, joining in with the session and learning more about disability football.

The Albion Cup – an annual tournament for SEND schools in Sussex – was heavily supported by a group of 22 academy scholars. They helped with the organising of the tournament, as well as acting as coaches and referees.

Find out more about how you can support the Foundation.


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