THE Pirelli Stadium Vaccination Centre is set to receive a prestigious EFL Award after delivering more than 250,000 life-saving Covid jabs to the people of East Staffordshire.
The EFL Awards are the most coveted football awards for clubs outside the Premier League and are hotly contested each year.
For 2021/22 Burton Albion has won the EFL Community Project of the Year Award for League One, beating entries from the other 23 teams in the division. Burton Albion will now go forward with the Championship and League Two winners to see which club wins the overall prize.
The Pirelli Stadium Vaccination Centre opened in December 2020 and reached a quarter of a million doses delivered at the end of March 2022. That does not include jabs delivered on home visits, in schools and at care homes. The combined figure is approaching 275,000.
The football club donated the stadium and provided facilities such as power and lighting free of charge to the NHS. Burton Albion Community Trust staff worked with NHS colleagues to establish the centre and recruited dozens of volunteers to ensure the operation ran smoothly.
In April 2021, BACT took over the operations freeing the NHS staff and setting the project apart with its ambitions and scope. That has been recognised by the EFL in this season’s awards.
Matt Hancock, BACT Head of Community, said: “We are delighted to have won this brilliant award for what is perhaps the most important project ever undertaken by the trust and football club and which has been at the very centre of the pandemic response.
“I want to thank all the trust staff and volunteers without whom this project could never have happened and with over 75s now receiving a spring booster the centre continues to be an important factor in protecting people and supporting the community.”
Ben Robinson, Burton Albion Chairman, said: “This is a thoroughly deserved award for the remarkable effort put in by so many people. We were able to achieve all this because of the club’s place at the heart of the community and the partnerships we already had in place.
“I also want to thank Sarah Laing, Executive Lead for East Staffordshire Primary Care Network, and Dr David Atherton, Clinical Director of Staffs Primary Care Network, for their invaluable support and guidance and all the staff and volunteers who have played their part.
“At Burton Albion we are immensely proud of our place at the heart of the community and delighted it has been recognised by the EFL.”
The EFL Community Project of the Year Winners are:
Championship – Preston North End
The club won judges over with its innovative project supporting members of its local community marking Ramadan and Eid. The club has also implemented a multi-faith prayer room for its supporters of all faiths, enabling fans to pray before and after games should they need to.
League One – Burton Albion
Burton Albion has been acknowledged for its success in supporting the NHS at the Burton Albion Vaccination Centre during the pandemic where more than 250,000 vaccinations have been carried out – a major undertaking for the club.
League Two – Swindon Town
Judges were blown away by Swindon Town’s ‘Project Me’ mentoring initiative launched in response to the pandemic to support children with mild-to-moderate mental health concerns.
The winners will receive their awards at a special event hosted at the House of Commons on April 19 alongside project participants, staff and volunteers from each Club Community Organisation considered instrumental in delivering this commendable work.
The overall winner for each category will be announced live at the EFL Awards on April 24.