Otis Roberts has been named winner of the first Barclays Community Sports Award of the 2011/12 season.
The accolade – a joint initiative between Barclays Community Sports Award, the Premier League’s Creating Chances community football programme, and UK sports charity the Football Foundation – recognises those who have contributed to sports at a grassroots level.
The latest award recognises Otis’ leadership of the Jason Roberts Foundation, a charity established by Blackburn striker Jason Roberts.
The foundation provides young people in the UK and the Caribbean with opportunities to take part in sports and improve their health and fitness, self-esteem and confidence.
As Chief Executive, Otis has been the driving force behind the charity, dedicating his time and energy over the last four years to promoting social inclusion by engaging youngsters in London.
Some of the initiatives he has led include the Respect Brent Programme and the Jason Roberts Football Club, where children aged between five and 14 can receive free football training.
They also get the opportunity to join football teams during summer holidays and at weekends, keeping them occupied in their spare time.
Otis said: “I’m so pleased to be awarded the Barclays Community Sports Award by Barclays Spaces for Sports, the Football Foundation and Premier League Creating Chances.
“The work that we do in the community for our young members is vital and it’s fantastic to have our work recognised in this way. I’d like to thank our partners and all the people who have got involved over the years for their continued support.”
Gareth Southgate, former Middlesbrough and England international footballer, returns to head the judging panel for the award.
Gareth said: “I’m delighted to be back on the judging panel for the Barclays Community Sports Award, and to announce Otis Roberts as the first winner of this season.
“What Otis has created in his community is a safe-haven for young people who are at risk of suffering from social exclusion or crime. His achievements are an inspiration to us all.”
Each monthly winner of the Barclays Community Sports Award receives £1,000 for their group or organisation and a limited edition trophy.
They will also be entered into the end-of-season award to win a further £5,000 and a VIP trip to London.
Barclays Spaces for Sports is a programme using sport to help young people develop a range of life skills.
Its sites give young people the opportunity to develop personally and learn about team work, communication, preparation and practice, conflict resolution and gender awareness.