EFL Trust launch new initiative to attract disabled participants
Disability football in England has received a major boost following the announcement of Every Player Counts, a new £1.1m project from the EFL Trust that aims to attract almost 10,000 new participants into the sport.
Supporting the EFL Trust’s aim to increase sports participation for all, the landmark project has been made possible thanks to funding from the Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST). The donation represents WNST’s largest single donation to date and its first England-wide grants programme.
The Every Player Counts programme will cover a wide range of disabilities with the simple aim of getting more people involved in sport and 25 EFL clubs will be involved in running programmes that are tailored to the specific needs of their local community. Although individual programmes will differ from club to club, the emphasis will always be on increasing participation, improving health and championing the social benefits of taking part in football.
Former England and Leeds United defender Danny Mills and Paralympian Jack Rutter were present at Wembley Stadium to watch some of the programme’s newest participants in action.
The 25 EFL Club Trusts will be delivering 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.
Sitting at the heart of their communities, EFL clubs and their trusts are ideally placed to develop a strong understanding of what is needed to deliver projects that make a real difference to local people.
EFL Clubs cover the length and breadth of the country, from Plymouth to Carlisle and from Southend to Shrewsbury. They are located in a mixture of built-up metropolitan boroughs and more rural locations – this variety allows Every Player Counts to reach a diverse range of people from many different backgrounds.
In the first year alone, the project aims to engage 3,000 new participants across the country, creating 31 new teams and up-skilling 130 coaches.
Mike Evans, EFL Trust Director of Operations, said: “The 72 EFL Community Trusts do lots of great work to get people involved in sport regardless of their background or abilities. The new partnership with Wembley National Stadium Trust will enable us to widen the reach of our network even further and use the power of football to make a real difference to people’s lives.”