Aldershot Town have won the Business and the Community Award at the Inspire Business Awards for the second time in three years.
Also winners in 2014, The Shots were rewarded for their community and charity work at the annual ceremony at the Hampshire Court Hotel in Chineham, which celebrates the success of businesses across North Hampshire. The ceremony was hosted by renowned BBC journalist Michael Buerk and Felicity Edwards, Managing Director of Destination Basingstoke.
Aldershot Enterprise Centre and Accelerate Driver Training were also finalists in the Business and the Community Award, which received the most nominations of any of the 12 categories and is given to businesses who “go over and above to create a positive, sustainable and societal impact as part of their corporate and social responsibility role.”
“It was very difficult to decide a top three,” admitted Edwards. “The effort, dedication and commitment that these businesses have shown, not just in the past year but for many years, makes them very worthy finalists. They should be recognized for the achievements that they have made and the considerable difference that they make.
“Considering the huge number of entries in this category, Aldershot Town’s victory, and the fact that they have again won this award, is testament to their ongoing commitment to the community.”
Shots Chairman Shahid Azeem said: “I am very proud that Aldershot Town have won this award for the second time, which illustrates our continued devotion to the people and the region which have supported us for so long. Any football club is at the heart of its community and we have a duty to give something back whenever we can.
“Our community work is not done for recognition or awards such as this but it is always lovely to know that our efforts are appreciated. We hope that others follow our lead and will redouble our own efforts into 2017. Such work, though, is always a partnership, and we are immensely grateful for the support of Rushmoor Borough Council and all of our partners, sponsors, staff and volunteers, with whom we share this award.”
The night also raised £4000 for Challengers disability charity, of which Buerk is an Amabassador and which provides play and leisure opportunities for children and young people aged 2-25 throughout Hampshire and Surrey. Each of their seven schemes in Hampshire provide a wide range of activities such as messy art days, pizza parties and drumming workshops, for children who are unlikely to have any other play or leisure environments outside of their home or school.
In the past twelve months, Aldershot Town has maintained its commitment to the local community through several fundraising, engagement and inclusion initiatives. These include working with over 15,000 children and offering 2500 free curriculum sessions in some of the region’s most disadvantaged areas; leading the Vanarama National League in signing the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant; offering free match tickets to members of the Armed Forces and other community groups; raising £30,000 to rebuild two schools in earthquake-hit areas of Nepal; holding and participating in Step By Step’s annual Sleep Out Challenge, which has raised over £60,000 for homeless people; offering free diabetes tests in conjunction with Club sponsor GlucoRx; joining the Chappie’s Challenge cycle ride from Wembley Stadium to Aldershot to raise money for Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice; awarding eight free scholarship places into the Club’s youth department to children who may otherwise be unable to afford the programme; working with St Joseph’s Primary School to raise over £5400 for the British Heart Foundation; supporting Prostate Cancer UK in conjunction with the annual nationwide Non-League Day; and raising almost £2500 for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal in 2015-16.
Our congratulations also go to Club sponsor R Collard, Eversley-based demolition, waste management, haulage and skip hire company, who were named Business of the Year.