The English Football League Trust has relaunched its programme to get more disabled people involved in football after the scheme received a £500,000 donation.
Wembley National Stadium Trust – the stadium’s charitable foundation – has provided the funding for the ‘Every Player Counts’ campaign, which it helps run as a joint venture with the EFL Trust.
The EFL say the scheme, which has been running for three years, has so far helped attract more than 11,000 disabled people into football.
Community organisations at 28 clubs currently offer the programme and have been running events in their local areas as part of the EFL Day of Disabilities to mark International Disability Day.
The programmes are designed to reach fans who have not been able to participate in football before and include:
- A scheme at Portsmouth for junior amputees.
- Sessions for people with Down’s syndrome to meet and play at Colchester United.
- Deaf people and those with hearing impairments can play at QPR’s training ground.
Mike Evans, director of operations at the EFL Trust, said he was proud of the scheme’s achievements so far and that the aim now was to extend its reach and the range of opportunities available.
“We look forward to hearing the many moving stories that we have become used to as the programme literally changes and improves the lives of its many participants,” he said.
Stewart Goshawk, chief executive of Wembley National Stadium Trust, added: “We know the positive impact that football can have to improve people’s quality of life, and through this programme we have seen countless examples.”