City, the Premier League and BT celebrate disability programme with ‘Festival of Sport’…
TEN CHILDREN represented Stoke City in a special ‘Festival of Sport’ event at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury to celebrate the first successful year of the Premier League and BT Disability programme.
The ‘Festival of Sport’ was hosted by BT presenters Abi Griffiths and Jake Humphrey, and saw participants from 20 clubs, who run the Premier League and BT Disability programme, take part in a range of different sports, including athletics, boccia and basketball, each developing their own skills throughout the event by recording their best times and results at each sports station.
Five children from the Potters’ Cerebral Palsy football team and five from Watermill School flew the flag for City at what was the venue for the Stoke Mandeville Games, the forerunner of the Paralympics.
Carl Bennett, City’s Inclusion, Disability and Health Lead, said: “The children had a day they are unlikely to forget. They represented the Club impeccably and not only made great memories but also new friends.”
The three-year Premier League and BT Disability programme aims to inspire disabled people through sport and will see the organisations work together to provide funding to Premier League clubs to create more opportunities for disabled people across England and Wales.
Since the Premier League and BT Disability programme was launched at the London Stadium last September, clubs have engaged over 10,000 disabled people and 27% of those taking part in club sessions have been female.
The programme looks to encourage disabled people to be more physically active and to help access talent pathways and more mainstream opportunities. Other supportive work has been done in partnership with the clubs, The Shippey Campaign and The Lord Taverners to implement sensory rooms at stadiums, following successful introductions at Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Watford.
Jake Humphrey, BT Ambassador, said: “It's amazing to see all of these young kids, giving it their all, and just having a brilliant day. There's a good competitive spirit.
“The important thing, is that without this Premier League and BT initiative, a lot of these groups wouldn't be put on because it just costs so much money and the finances simply wouldn't be there. You come on a day like this and you see that absolutely it is making a difference. It's really important.”
Nick Perchard, Head of Community, Premier League added: “The Festival of Sport was designed to bring together the inspiring individuals from clubs who have been taking part in disability sessions over the past season, to share their stories and experiences, whilst also trying a range of different sports.
"The event has been the perfect way to celebrate the first year of the partnership with BT and to showcase the great inclusive work that clubs are delivering week-in-week-out. I look forward to see how this programme continues to develop over the next two years."