Festival of Sport brings smiles of joy

The Chelsea Foundation was represented by disability inclusion co-ordinator Andy Rose and some players from our under-16 and under-12 teams at the Premier League and BT Disability ‘Festival of Sport’ on Tuesday.

The event at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury was a celebration of the first year of the Premier League and BT Sport disability programme, which provides funding for Premier League clubs to create more opportunities for disabled people in England and Wales.

The ‘Festival of Sport’ was hosted by BT presenters Abi Griffiths and Jake Humphrey and saw participants take part in a range of different sports including athletics and basketball, working on their own personal development throughout the event by recording their best times and results at each sports station.

‘It’s great to see all of the children here representing their clubs from across the Premier League. The participants had a great day and there were so many smiles it was fantastic,’ said Rose.

‘We really have to thank the Premier League and BT Sport for their support and for organising such a great event. The funding we have received has really enabled us to train and mentor coaches and teachers from a wide range of backgrounds, empowering them to engage with disabled people within a mainstream environment.

‘Projects like the Premier League and BT Sport disability fund really help to change the lives of disabled people and the support that we have had from the club and supporters has been tremendous.

‘Our training sessions and our teacher/coach training programs are ongoing so if there are any players, teacher, coaches or students that would like to get involved we look forward to hearing from you, who knows one day you could be attending an event like this too.’

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.

The Chelsea Foundation runs 11 pan-disability teams from the Under-8 age group upwards, for males and females of all abilities and disabilities as well as running two adult cerebral palsy teams. Plenty of work is put in not just coaching the players, but also engaging with teachers and coaches to give them the confidence to work with children with disabilities.

The PL/BT fund has helped contribute to this end by enabling the foundation to provide workshops and training opportunities for foundation coaches, school teachers, university students and coaches from clubs from across the UK both professional and grassroots.

Last season wing-back Marcos Alonso visited one of these sessions to help showcase the work being done by clubs like Chelsea, BT and the Premier League.