AFC Wimbledon was lauded by the Prime Minister after a decade of good deeds in Merton.
Hugh Robertson MP, minister for Sport and the Olympics, presented the club with a Big Society award at Kingsmeadow yesterday (March 27) for running community activities since its creation in 2002.
The club, itself run by a supporters-backed trust, organises activities such as improving literacy in young adults, putting on art classes for people with learning difficulties and providing football skills coaching.
Mr Robertson also started a circuit of the pitch by by Marie Miller, a young woman with learning difficulties who is raising money for Sport Relief, who was joined by the Wimbledon goalkeeper Seb Brown.
The Big Society awards were set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in November 2010.
Mr Cameron said: “The team behind AFC Wimbledon have not just given fans a local club to support, but much more than this, they have united a community, given them the chance to have a real stake in their club’s future and made a huge difference to the lives of many people in the area at the same time.
“Football is a team game, and AFC Wimbledon have shown just what can happen when people don’t just sit on the sidelines, but choose to get involved and really pull together – a great example of the Big Society.
“Congratulations to AFC Wimbledon and all their fans and supporters whose determination and devotion has created a community-owned Club that has gone from strength to strength.”
Accepting the award, Erik Samuelson, chief executive from AFC Wimbledon, said: “This club’s achievements show that a co-operatively owned football club can be faithful to its high ethical standards, keep a keen focus on community involvement, be financially sustainable – and still be successful on the pitch.
"Everyone who has contributed to the club’s success and this award should be very proud.”