Disability Football Project Smashes Targets

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  1. SBitC

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    Thousands of people across the country with a wide range of disabilities (including participants from Sky Blues in the Community) have benefitted from the first year of the EFL Trusts’ Every Player Counts Disability Football programme.

    The Every Player Counts programme started in September 2016 supports the EFL Trust’s aim of increasing sports participation for all. In its first year the programme got 3,634 unique participant involved in sport, many for the first time, exceeding its year one target by over 20%.

    The landmark project was made possible thanks to a £1.1m donation from the Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST). The funding represented WNST’s largest single donation to date and its first England-wide grants programme.

    Mike Evans, EFL Trust Director of Operations said: “The first year of the programme has been a tremendous success, giving thousands of people access to sport regardless of their background or abilities. The partnership with Wembley National Stadium Trust has enabled our network to reach even further into their communities and use the power of football to make a real difference to people’s lives. We are pleased that the success of year one means we can continue to reach more people in year two”

    The programme covers a wide range of disabilities with the simple aim of getting more people involved in sport. 25 EFL clubs run the Every Player Counts programmes that are tailored to the specific needs of their local community.

    Stewart Goshawk, WNST Chief Executive added: “We all understand the power that sport has to change lives for the better. These opportunities to play football through “Every Player Counts” are having such a positive impact on the lives of so many disabled people, both young and old, right across the country. The chance to be involved in a project at their local professional football club is great attractions for many of the participants and the quality of the programmes on offer are a testament to the excellent work undertaken by the club community trusts within their local neighbourhoods. We look forward to Year 2 being just as successful.”

    The 25 EFL Club Trusts (including Sky Blues in the Community) deliver activity covering a wide range of disability programmes including wheelchair football, football for visual impairment, learning difficulties, amputees and autism, giving many disabled people access to football for the first time.

    Mike Evans continues: “Sky Blues in the Community delivered an excellent programme in year one and we’re pleased to confirm that they will continue into the second year of the programme.”

    Sky Blues in the Community engaged 536 young people and adults during Year 1 of the Every Player Counts project. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

    During Year 1 of the project, Sky Blues in the Community worked with Round Oak School.

    Sue Backhouse, Assistant Head (Enrichment) at Round Oak School, said: “This academic year (2016/17) Round Oak School has hosted a Football Hub run by Sky Blues in the Community. This after school club has provided a wonderful opportunity for our young disabled students to enjoy Football outside the school day and to be coached by specialist football coaches.The coaches have developed a wonderful rapport with our students. They provide activities that are fully inclusive and appropriate to the individual needs of the group. In turn, the students highly respect the coaches always looking forward to their sessions.

    As a school we aim to take every possible opportunity to enhance health and wellbeing of our students. This club satisfies so many needs by providing physical activity and also opportunities to improve social skills, behaviour, self-esteem and confidence. This also allows for leadership opportunities and encourages peer support.

    Looking forward to next year, I hope that we can encourage our new intake to join in. This will greatly aid their transition into their new school and help forge new friendships from across the school. We are delighted to work in partnership with Sky Blues in the Community and are very appreciate of all the wonderful work they do for young disabled people.”

    Although individual programmes will differ from club to club, the emphasis is always on increasing participation, improving health and championing the social benefits of taking part in football. The over-riding aim of the scheme is to increase the amount of disabled people participating in football reaching out to over 3,000 people per year, breaking down the barriers that have prevented them from doing so.

    If you would like any further information about the Sky Blues disability focused work, please contact Sky Blues in the Community Inclusion Coordinator, Sam Flatley, via Email: sam.flatley@ccfc.co.uk or Telephone: 024 7678 6313.

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