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Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 13:41 UK

Villa unveil charity sponsorship

Acorns logo

Aston Villa have announced a shirt partnership with West Midlands-based charity Acorns Children's Hospice.

The deal will see the charity's logo being carried on the club's shirts for free throughout the 2008/9 season.

"They look after people of Birmingham and the West Midlands and our fanbase covers that area," Villa's head of community Duncan Biddle told BBC WM.

"They have to compete against national charities for funds and hopefully this will elevate them to that level."

Acorns, which was established in 1983, cares for life-limited children and their families in the Midlands.

The charity has three hospices across the region, in Birmingham, Walsall and Worcester.

Credit must go to Villa for using its shirt sponsor to highlight and promote its charity partnership

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore
Villa have supported Acorns since 2006 and offered a sponsorship deal after being told Acorns needed to care for an extra 1,000 children.

David Studley, chief executive of the hospice, told BBC WM the deal was an incredible moment.

"It is just amazing. This is the platform we have all been looking for," he said.

"We have a strategy that envisages reaching out to all the children across the West Midlands and it's a vast fund raising challenge.

"We have to do it quickly and the platform this gives us it amazing."

The deal is the first of its kind in the top flight and Villa's act has drawn praise from the Premier League's chief executive Richard Scudamore.

Gareth Barry and Martin Laursen at Acorns
Villa captain Gareth Barry (r) and Martin Laursen on a visit to Acorns

"Credit must go to Villa for being the first Premier League club to use its shirt sponsor to highlight and promote its charity partnership," he said.

"I am sure Acorns' association with Aston Villa will be of great help in raising awareness and funds for all the excellent work they undertake.

"The power of football and the power of the Premier League has long been something that companies have tapped into to reach audiences throughout the country and increasingly, across the globe."

see also
Gerrard wants Barry at Liverpool
30 May 08 |  Liverpool
Davies wants September comeback
30 May 08 |  Aston Villa
Barry postpones Aston Villa talks
29 May 08 |  Aston Villa
Maloney admits Villa frustration
29 May 08 |  Aston Villa

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