Mat Sadler chosen as Community Champion for 2016/17Pupils of Crowmoor Primary School were visited by Mat Sadler, Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s PFA Community Champion of the 2016/2017 season, as we caught up with them on their Reading The Game programme.
Mat has been heavily involved with STITC this season, and as well as making several visits himself has organised his team mates to events at schools, hospitals and care homes.
This time Mat attended one of our Reading The Game sessions, where we work with schools to inspire young people to read more and improve their writing as well as their PE skills.
“When Jamie told me about it I said I was honoured and proud to win the award because it’s a big deal,” he said.
“I think my role in winning the award goes further than just coming to the sessions as well, its trying to organise the schedule to make sure that players know when and where they need to go.
“We need players doing as many visits as possible, because that’s how we’re going to draw attention to the football club and make a difference in some of these children’s lives.
“I see my role as a big thing, making sure people get to the events that they’re supposed to get to.
“So to be recognised for that is a big deal to me, I’m chuffed to bits.”
Keeping team mates organised can not always be an easy task, but Mat has been impressed by the Town players’ commitment to getting out in the community.
“There hasn’t been many missed, and if someone hasn’t been able to do an event for whatever reason then someone else has stepped up to the plate,” he added.
“We’re lucky that we’ve got people willing to come out and be in the community and be visible.
“We know we’re in a privileged position as football players so we’ve got lads who are really responsive and want to come out to highlight how privileged we feel and make the most of that.”
Players get involved in a variety of different visits and sessions throughout the season, and although picking a favourite can be difficult, Mat believes each visit is a memorable experience.
“I like doing all of the ones with the schools, my wife’s a primary school teacher so she works with the little ones.
“I love seeing the look on children’s faces, some of the maybe heart rendering ones where we’ve been into the care homes and there’s people with Alzheimer’s and dementia isn’t nice to see.
“Obviously going to the hospitals are always tough places to go and visit, but they’re all ones you want to go to.
“If you’ve in any way, shape or form had any sort of a lasting impact, even if its not beyond that evening then it means the world to you that you’ve been able to have that little bit of an impact on somebody’s life.
“All the different ones for different reasons but of course, naturally, your hospital visits, especially with Alzheimer's as the family have gone through a similar thing.
“They will stick long in the memory.”
Mat has been impressed with what he has seen from Shrewsbury Town in the Community during his time with Town, and hopes that more people follow suit in doing their bit for those in Shropshire.
“The people of Shrewsbury are proud of their town, they’re proud of their community. I think the work that you guys are doing hopefully it can bring more pride to the town and more pride to the people of Shrewsbury.
“There’s always more that could be done, of course there is. If ever you were stood here saying ‘we’re resting on our laurels and we’ve cracked it’ then you’d be a mad man!
“But the work that everybody’s doing, it should be commended. You’d say to anyone out there, ‘help us do more’.
“There are always more kids, adults and vulnerable people who we can touch and make a difference to.”