Chris Mepham has won AFC Bournemouth’s PFA Community Champion Award for the 2019/20 season.
The defender has earned such recognition for his community work throughout the campaign, as well as during the first national lockdown and over the summer months.
This work has been continued into the current season, where he most recently spoke to children from the club’s Premier League Kicks programme over Zoom and discussed his favourite footballing memories and key moments from his career to date.
Away from that programme, which Mepham is the player ambassador for, he has also been active within other areas of the community.
At the start of the 2019/20 campaign, the Wales international attended a Down Syndrome Soccer School, where he took part in the session for around an hour, playing shooting games, small-sided matches and sitting down to read a match day programme with the group.
It was during that session that one of the participants struck up quite a bond with Mepham, who remained in touch and even phoned him on Christmas Day for a chat and a catch up.
Additionally, the 23-year-old volunteered to be the ambassador for the Mental Health & Wellbeing campaign which the Community Sports Trust ran in partnership with the NHS.
Over a three-week period, a message to encourage positive wellbeing was shared on a daily basis via the AFC Bournemouth social media pages and, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Chris recorded a short video to be shared with fans via club channels.
After a brilliant two years of work within the local area, most recently with Premier League Kicks and Bournemouth and Poole College, Steve Cuss shared his delight with afcb.co.uk.
“I’m delighted to announce that Chris Mepham has been chosen as the community champion for last season.
“We were unable to present the award due to the current circumstances but wanted to mark Chris’ outstanding support for the Community Sports Trust and the projects delivered, which reach out and impact on so many of the local community.”
Speaking himself about the importance of community work, Mepham also commented: “I think sometimes us as footballers forget the power we can have in terms of reaching out to the community.
“When I was at Brentford, they had a big link with the community and I think it’s important to have that everywhere.
“Coming to Bournemouth, it’s a very similar mindset and you always see first team lads going off to different schools and education centres, so it’s really good.”