The Premier League has pledged to provide financial support for the first three years of the Chelsea Foundation's new inclusion project.
A total of £120,000 in funding will be donated over that period, helping primarily to introduce children and young adults to disability football.
By providing coaching at schools in Surrey and Middlesex, in both lessons and additional extra-curricular activities, as well as training workshops to help teachers and support staff at special-needs schools and colleges develop their coaching delivery, the new project plans to provide a sustainable base for player development.
The Foundation also plans to generate male and female teams in the Under-11, Under-13, Under-16 and Over-16 age categories, while complementing our partners' County FA Development Plan targets, which are based on Sport England's Whole Sport Plan 2013-2017.
'We are absolutely delighted,' said Chelsea Foundation inclusion manager Rob Seale. 'A great deal of time and effort has gone into making the inclusion project a reality. We are really looking forward to working with new groups of disabled people, and growing our existing provision, with the backing of Surrey FA and Middlesex FA.'
The inclusion project will incorporate mentoring, coach education, teacher training and blind football taster days to raise awareness of both pan-disability football and the various impairment-specific forms of the game. Disabled participants who are over the age of 16 will also be given the opportunity of becoming mentors themselves in addition to the Chelsea Foundation supporting them while taking the FA's Coaching Disabled or Coaching Blind Footballers courses.
An added benefit of the new programme will allow the Foundation to retain disabled members at other Chelsea projects, but also to continue supporting those who wish to further their development at another club, meaning the inclusion project can provide a signpost to disability players and coaches pointing out the most appropriate pathways through the grassroots game and beyond.
This is the seventh time the Premier League Community Fund has agreed to provide financial backing for the Foundation's work. The fund aims to assist top-flight clubs in having a positive impact on their local area's cohesion, education, health and sports participation and has previously granted assistance for one of the Chelsea Foundation's education programmes and a prison project.