More than 3,000 disabled people have become involved in football as a result of FA-led grassroots project, Inclusive United.
Inclusive United was set up to engage and sustain the participation of disabled people in football by offering greater and more inclusive opportunities to become physically active in London. A joint partnership between The FA and Wembley National Stadium Trust provided the funding of £430,000 over three years, to turn the idea into a reality.
Back in 2012, 15 of the capital’s professional football club community trusts came together to form a partnership “London United”, which was subsequently tasked with delivery of the Inclusive United project. Since then – between 2013 and 2016 – 150 separate programmes have been delivered through the 12 football club community trusts, which chose to participate. Projects involved a wide range of disabilities and impairment groups and provided opportunities for people of all ages.
In addition, 81 new teams have been created and the project has enabled 613 trained individuals to increase and improve opportunities for disabled people through coaching and mentoring.
In 2016-17, further projects have been funded at 9 clubs to expand their disability football work, as well as helping establish a new Powerchair club in west London and increase the training provision across the capital.
Fiona Kingsley, a children’s occupational therapy clinical lead, working with the Leyton Orient Trust, said: “Setting up the Red Dragons Football Club for children with Developmental Coordination Disorder has been an incredible journey for our occupational therapy team, from the initial idea of the club to winning the Inclusive Sports Award at the Waltham Forest Sport Awards.
“The club has brought enormous benefits to the children and their families and demonstrates how interagency working and the bringing together of expertise really helps to meet the needs of this vulnerable group of children.”
It is hoped that the Inclusive United project will create a lasting legacy with sustainable opportunities for disabled people to take part in football through ongoing recreational sessions, links to local competitions and performance pathways.
- £430,000 – Funds invested over three years by The FA and WNST
- 3,057 – disabled individuals have taken part
- 150 – 20-week programmes delivered across 12 professional clubs
- 81 – new teams created