Myerscough College’s Foundation Learning students were invited to take part in a special event to celebrate the first anniversary of a nationwide disability football programme.
The programme, called Every Player Counts, is a project run by the EFL Trust, and to mark the occasion a football festival was held at MediaCityUk in Salford, with players and clubs showcasing the programme and benefits of the scheme.
Currently there are 25 Football Club Community Trusts who deliver tailored programmes to enable people with a disability access to Football. Myerscough College works with the Fleetwood Town Community Trust to facilitate this, and in this tournament played games against other English Football League disability teams.
Myerscough students were lucky enough to meet ex England, Leeds and Manchester City star, Danny Mills as well as former Hull City Manager, and Manchester United Assistant manager, Mike Phelan. Students were also interviewed by the media regarding their involvement in disability sport and what football means to them.
The Foundation Learning students were accompanied by staff from both Myerscough and Fleetwood Town Community Trust.
Rachel Pendleton, lecturer in foundation learning at Myerscough College, said: ‘’Thanks to Fleetwood Town Community Trust for giving our foundation learners the chance to be involved. They were a credit to both Myerscough College and the Football Club.
‘’We also thank the Trust at Fleetwood for their continued support with Myerscough College Pan Ability football, and with their coaching and preparation for tournaments.’’
Funded by the Wembley National Stadium Trust and the EFL Trust, £1.1 million in grants, including almost £200,000 from the EFL Trust, has been donated to the Every Player Counts programme, with 25 EFL Clubs currently delivering the initiative across the country.
Danny Mills said: ‘’Football is the greatest game on the planet, but it is about participation and that is what makes programmes such as this so beneficial. Not only the health aspect, but from a social point of view, today and over the previous year will have changed the lives of those taking part.”
The five EFL Community Trusts took part in the tournament, with disabilities ranging from visual impairment to amputations, showcasing the diversity the programme offers.
EFL Trust Director of Operations, Mike Evans said: “It’s a year since we launched the programme and it wouldn’t have been possible without the funding from the Wembley National Stadium Trust.
“Credit needs to be given to all participating EFL Clubs who have really pushed the boat out to engage as many people with disabilities as possible. It has been a fantastic effort from all involved.’’
For more information on the Every Player Counts programme, visit: http://www.efltrust.com/projects/every-player-counts/
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by Dave Salmon