Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Ciara Watling have been named PFA Community Champions at Crystal Palace's End of Season awards this evening at Croydon Boxpark, in what was a free to attend event for the Eagles fan base.
The PFA Community Champion Award aims to raise awareness of the great support that players provide to their club’s community activities during the season.
This season’s first team winner, Wan-Bissaka, has attended various sessions and events on behalf of the Palace for Life Foundation, including visiting the Gloves not Gunz community boxing group, going back to his old primary school for an assembly and taking part in a Team Mates mental health session. Having grown up locally, Wan-Bissaka is an outstanding role model to young people in south London and has inspired hundreds of youngsters through these visits.
Watling, the Ladies' team winner, has been a wonderful ambassador for the Foundation, attending holiday courses to help coach young players, visiting a girls football festival and starring in the Super Movers video to encourage youngsters to get more active.
Palace for Life Foundation CEO Mike Summers praised the pair and explained the impact of their work, saying: "At Palace for Life Foundation we work with young people who may have had a difficult start in life and the inspirational effect of meeting a player can be life-changing for them. Hearing first-hand about the importance of working hard to achieve your dreams can really open their eyes as to what is possible. That is even more inspiring when the player has grown up just down the road from them, like Aaron!
"Aaron and Ciara have met hundreds of youngsters between them this season and I would like to thank them for all of their support."
Having received her award, Watling said: "I like being a role model for young kids. The award means a lot especially because I work every day with children in primary schools myself."
The recipients for the Community Champion awards were chosen by the Foundation and presented on stage this evening by Women and Girls Development Manager, Roxanne Bennett, and Primary Schools Programme Manager, Sam Bacon.
To see more of the Foundation's fantastic efforts, visit their website now.