BREWERS midfielder Ryan Edwards has been nominated for the EFL Player in the Community Award, which will be decided at the annual EFL Awards in April.
Edwards has been influential during numerous community appearances since his arrival at the club in the summer of 2019, supporting Burton Albion Community Trust (BACT) staff during their delivery in the local community.
The 26-year-old Australian volunteered to become the club’s PFA 2019/20 Education Ambassador shortly after joining Nigel Clough’s side. Since then, he’s been instrumental across a number of sessions that are delivered by BACT, having a positive affect on the participants that he’s come into contact with.
Edwards has built a very special bond with one community group in particular, becoming a keen favourite of theirs at one of BACT’s Alternative Education sessions. The youngsters, who attend the mentor-based programme, work with BACT to help them re-engage with mainstream education at primary school, where it’s been clear to see the improvement in their willingness to learn since the Brewers player became involved.
Edwards also supported the ‘Ditch The Blade’ campaign, helping police and local partners to encourage young people not to carry knives and to instead choose a different path for their lives.
He was also a huge hit at two health and wellbeing programmes over the festive period, at both the annual Christmas Over 50s celebration and club hospital visit.
Matt Hancock, Head of Community, said: “Ryan’s been excellent since joining the club from a community perspective and is a fine role-model for people of all ages.
“His professionalism since arriving at the Pirelli Stadium has been clear to see for the staff, fans and participants. He’s become a hit with the Brewers faithful both on and off the pitch this season and is something that was evident to see right from the off for me.
“It was first clear that Ryan was great with the public, whilst meeting supporters at a Club Shop signing session earlier in the season. He showed a fantastic approach to welcoming everyone that he met, and you could see that they were delighted with what a great guy one of the club's new players was.
“He has also made a real bond with a small group of youngsters from one of our Alternative Education programmes and is keen to continue to do much more regular work with them. We’re delighted to have nominated him for this award, as it’s much deserved!”
The annual awards recognise outstanding community engagement from players across the EFL’s 72 clubs during the calendar year.
Entries will be judged and shortlisted for the award, before winners for each league and an overall EFL Player in the Community are announced at the event in London.
Edwards said: “I’m really proud to be nominated for the award and I’m always happy to support the work that’s done in the local community.
“I’m very passionate about helping to keep people in education, so being the Education Ambassador has been fantastic for me.
“I’ve met some great people, whether they’re fans or community participants, and I’m honoured to have been nominated."