The inaugural recipients of the Aston Villa Foundation’s Community Most Valuable Player award were recognised at the weekend game against Burton Albion.Our ten selected Community MVPs, who raise funds for charity, give up their time to help disadvantaged groups and put the needs of others before their own, enjoyed a special day at Villa Park.The group were presented with trophies pitchside before watching Villa’s 3-2 victory from a hospitality box donated by club partner Hisense.A number of our worthy winners, who were selected as part of the club’s Supporting Our Own initiative, also met fan favourite Jack Grealish and manager Steve Bruce after the game.Nominations came flooding in from around the Midlands after the club invited fans to put forward their community champions – the unsung heroes who positively impact the lives of others.
Meet our Community MVPs
1] Moin Younis is a familiar face to Villa fans after his charitable exploits led to him winning Teenager of Courage at last year’s Pride of Britain Awards. An ambassador for Acorns Children’s Hospice, the 18-year-old continues to work closely with the Foundation and within the local community to positively impact lives despite suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare genetic skin disorder.2] Birmingham’s homeless community has received invaluable support from Kerry Lenihan and the social action project which she founded in 2016.‘Operation Drawstring’ and its team of volunteers put together bags of essential and luxury items before distributing them across the city.3] Mohammed Farid was nominated by those who have benefitted from his mixed martial arts classes and community outreach programmes at Impact Fitness Academy in Moseley. Labelled as a ‘pillar’ of his local community, Mohammed aims to build discipline and self-confidence within every one of his students.4] After losing her 21-year-old daughter in a road traffic accident in January 2017, Novlet Nicholson founded The Demi Trust. Fulfilling her child’s charitable wishes, the Trust offers emotional, financial and legal support to university-bound students from low income families.5] Imran Younas earned himself a nomination for Community MVP via his work with young people in schools and colleges across Birmingham. A Lead Mentor with social enterprise Volunteer It Yourself, Imran has helped hundreds of people achieve qualifications and develop new skills.6] For the last three years, Adam Lewis has devoted his spare time to Acorns Children’s Hospice in Selly Oak, providing care and support to young people. Adam has also hosted football tournaments, a film show, and a Local Legends Night to raise vital funds for the hospice.7] Despite suffering from her own health problems, Sally Gutteridge teamed up with Your Trust Charity to raise funds for patients in Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals. The mum-of-two raised over £2,500 last year and currently provides wellbeing packs to cancer patients.8] Samantha Vaughn has championed the needs of fellow disabled tenants through her role on the Perry Barr Housing Liaison Board. Samantha, who suffers from viral meningitis, has battled to improve the living conditions for disabled people in her local area.9 + 10] Amy and Ryan Jackson vowed to help families in the West Midlands who have lost a child due to stillbirth after their own tragic experience in 2010. Named after their daughter, The Lily Mae Foundation provides support to bereaved parents while assisting with research to reduce the incidences of stillbirth.