More than 3,000 disabled people have become involved in football as a result of FA-led grassroots project, Inclusive United.
A joint partnership between The FA and Wembley National Stadium Trust, 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.
Back in 2012, 15 of the capital’s professional football clubs’ community trusts – including Arsenal Community, Leyton Orient Trust and the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation – came together to form a partnership, which was subsequently tasked with delivery of the Inclusive United project.
- £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
Since then – between 2013 and 2016 – 150 separate programmes have been delivered across 12 professional football clubs.
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.
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.