Darius Charles has collected his trophy after being named the club's PFA Community Champion for the 2020/21 season, decided by the Sports & Education Trust.
The PFA Community Champion award aims to raise awareness of the support its members provide to their Club’s community activities throughout the season, and during the last year, Darius has been involved with many different projects that WWSET delivers.
Darius has led by example on the field throughout his time at the Chairboys and has also shone like a beacon off the pitch, having been involved with SET's ‘Future Goals’ project, a mentoring programme for disengaged young people. He made a special connection with one young man in particular who was struggling in school and with an injury that had meant his time at an academy had been put on hold.
In the weeks prior to lockdown, Darius was working with 24 young people each week taking time to come to the WWSET office at Adams Park Stadium and deliver motivational and inspirational talks with those young people who do not fully engage with education.
Darius has also taken part in a ‘Premier League Kicks’ online question and answer sessions in addition to one of our Development Centre online Q&A sessions and has been a judge in a writing competition for year 5 and 6 students who were asked to write a letter explaining how they have coped during the lockdown and how they have overcome their challenges.
As part of the award submission, manager Gareth Ainsworth said: "Darius has proven himself to be an outstanding professional, not just for his efforts on the field, but with his determination to help those around him in the changing room and in society, through his work with the Sports & Education Trust.
"We all recognise that we have a part to play, because of the privileged position that we hold as staff and players in one of the greatest leagues in world football, and Darius has used his platform in an honourable and admirable way to mentor young people and help them overcome adversity, just like he has had to do in his professional and personal lives. Everyone at the club is hugely proud of Darius’s contributions in this way and supports his nomination for Community Champion.”
John Hudson, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at the PFA, said: “The PFA has been immensely proud of the outstanding efforts of players during a very difficult season, and we feel they should be recognised for their support and involvement in the local community. The Award will hopefully raise awareness of the importance many of our members attach to their roles off the pitch and highlight their commitment to support those most in need during the crisis. We would like to offer our congratulations to this season’s recipient of the 2020/21 PFA Community Champion Award.”
Head of WWSET, Paul Foley, added: “I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to Darius for all of the support he’s given WWSET this season. It’s been a pleasure to see him engage with our projects and to see him really connect with participants of all ages and backgrounds during what has been a very difficult year for everyone in our community.. It was an easy decision to put Darius up for the award, and it was an honour to present him with it."