Why is our partnership important?
Aston University and Aston Villa FC share a name and a commitment to promote education, health and wellbeing and opportunities for all in the community in which we serve.
Both are iconic institutions with a proud history, rooted in our city. We are ambitious for the future of our city, and the people who make it what it is.
We share Aston Villa’s dedication to equality and inclusion and aspire to see women reach the top of their profession.
Football, like education, can help improve confidence and brings people together from diverse communities and backgrounds.
Villa Vision - helping children to see
Villa Vision is an Aston Villa Foundation project, designed and delivered in collaboration with Aston University with funding from the University, Premier League, Professional Footballers Association and Essilor Lux’s charitable foundation OneSight.
Villa Vision was designed to increase access to eye health education, eye screening, eye examinations, and to prescribe glasses to those who need them among school children that live within close proximity of Villa Park.
More than 40 schools have received the full Villa Vision programme, accessing over 3,400 children in more than 15 priority areas in Birmingham.
Villa Vision meets 8 of the Premier League’s community fund objectives, which focus on improving physical and mental wellbeing, developing knowledge, confidence, improving interpersonal relationships, and progression.
Since its conception, the Villa Vision programme has:
- Delivered over 10,500 individual interventions through a combination of workshops (5,500), vision screening (4,800) and eye testing in over 60 school visits
- Flagged over 750 children for further investigation
- Conducted over 240 full eye examinations
- Dispensed more than 320 free pairs of glasses to children requiring them
- Supported 100 Aston University optometry students in half-day school placements
Find out more about the impact of the Villa Vision project by downloading the PDFs below.
How did we involve the community?
Prof Leon Davies (Optometry), Prof Frank Austermuehl (Translation studies), Prof Monder Ram (Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship) and Dr Angela Jeffery (Director of Regional Strategy) worked with Citizens UK and the Aston Villa Foundation to understand how the local population might engage in health research. The project provided a platform for engagement with local community in the wards of Nechells, Lozells, Aston, Newtown and Birchfield.
UKRI public engagement project
Learn how we listened to the people of Birmingham to understand their experiences of eye-health.
Villa Vision video
Learn how our Optometry School teamed up with the Aston Villa Foundation and optical lens supplier Essilor Vision For Life to create Villa Vision.
Growing the Women’s game – BSc Marketing
Aston University's BSc marketing students on the sports marketing module worked on a real life business project for Aston Villa FC, looking at how to further grow the audience for the women’s game. The students with the best ideas were chosen to present their ideas to the marketing and commercial team at Villa Park.
Rainbow Laces Campaign - supporting the LGBTQ+ community
As part of the MA Forensic Linguistics degree at Aston University, students complete a module called Practical Applications in Forensic Linguistics. In the 2021-22 academic year, we partnered with Aston Villa Football Club to conduct a linguistic analysis. Students analysed online discourse around the 2021 #RainbowLaces campaign, with a focus on anti-LGBT+ hate speech in the West Midlands premier league football community.
As a result, Aston University students were able to recommend a series of actions for Aston Villa FC in order to support the LGBTQ+ community online within football. Actions included active promotion of #RainbowLaces on the official social media channels and monitoring Twitter threads closely for hate speech in collaboration with West Midlands Police.
Black History Month
In 2021, students interviewed Aston Villa players about what Black History means to them.
- When Jamie met Anita
Aston University student Jamie talks about Black History with Aston Villa’s Anita Asante.
- When Safeena met Keinan
Safeena chats with Aston Villa’s Keinan Davis.
- When Josh met Elisha
Josh sits down with Aston Villa’s Elisha N’Dow.
- When Agosta met Axel
Agosta questions Aston Villa’s Axel Tuanzebe about Black History.
- When Morag met Marisa
Morag has a conversation about Black History with Aston Villa’s Marisa Ewers.
- When Shareece met Matty
Shareece meets Aston Villa’s Matty Cash to discuss Black History.
Player Education Pathway
In developing the Women’s Leadership Programme, Aston Villa and Aston University believe that player support should take a holistic approach to the individual. We work with Aston Villa FC to support the players through:
- Academic study
We offer a variety of courses, modules and degrees to players looking to enhance their knowledge and careers.
- Career support
We provide players with career support and direction through workshops, 1-2-1 advice and online resources.
- Business support
We can provide players with support, advice and mentoring when setting out in their own business.
- Outside of careers
We offer players access to the University facilities and events.
Are you an Aston University member of staff?
If you are a member of staff at Aston University, there are a number of ways you can get involved. Click here to find out more.