#Morethanfootball Action Day – Social Inclusion
April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. The day encourages member States of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about people with autistic spectrum disorders including autism and Asperger syndrome throughout the world.
As part of the ongoing #Morethanfootball Action Weeks campaign, we will celebrate not only the rights of people with Autism but also promote social inclusion in general. Use the day to promote your related projects and show how you make your stadium more accessible, create a friendly environment and help that everyone feels accepted in football and society. We have gathered a few best practices of social inclusion in European football.
Aston Villa Foundation
Guy Rippon provided an overview of the work of the Aston Villa Foundation and the club’s provision for people with a range of disabilities at the 14th EFDN Conference. For example, two hospitality boxes in the North Stand at Villa Park have been transformed, allowing up to eight people to watch from the Sensory Rooms on a matchday. Watch the video below and download the presentation here.
Burnley FC in the Community
Burnley FC in the Community runs a Disability Sport Project where participants can play competitively and enjoy sessions of a highly competitive nature, building upon existing abilities and putting their talent to the test in competition or play recreationally so people with disabilities to participate in free sport activities without encountering barriers. The programme also aims to educate schools and organisations with knowledge of disability provision and the teaching of best practice.
Sheffield United FC Community Foundation
In October 2019, the foundation launched the pilot project ‘Blades Inspired’ which was created to provide sports and physical activity opportunities for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) across Sheffield. The primary focus was to inspire, educate and impact more individuals across the spectrum through Physical Education and Football sessions.
Aston Villa Foundation
Ability Counts is the name of Aston Villa’s disability football provision, and it provides inclusive, accessible football for disabled people from the age of six right through to adulthood. Training sessions are led by qualified coaches, who give individuals the opportunity to play in a safe environment.
Blackburn Rovers Community Trust
Through its inclusive #OneRovers programme, the club makes steps to meet the EFL’s code of practice with Sliding Doors, disabled supporters’ club parties, accessible toilets and matchday audio headsets that sees the club go above and beyond. The Community Trust also delivers sessions at primary schools across Lancashire for around 250 children, providing ability-appropriate sports programmes that bring a lot of happiness to those taking part. Open access sessions are also based at Ewood Park to allow children with disabilities to play football, with a specific weekly coaching course available to children with Down’s Syndrome.
EFDN member clubs like Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao are competing in LaLiga Genuine. The league is a special competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The teams are of single or mixed category (male and female). They may include players who have reached the age of sixteen on the date on which the call for the phase in which they are to participate is sent out, and they must also prove, by means of official documentation, that they have an intellectual disability of at least 33%.
IDEAS FOR #MORETHANFOOTBALL ACTIVITIES
- Share a video of one of your disability team participants
- Show how you make your stadium and programmes accessible to everyone
- Spread awareness and knowledge on Autism on your Social Media channels
- Light up your stadium blue to share the message of #LIUB
- Start or highlight your Autism Friendly Football sessions
- Motivate everyone to join you in showing their support and solidarity to people with autism by lighting their balconies blue at 9:00pm and by spreading awareness using #LIUB
- Highlight projects or initiatives for Autism awareness, acceptance and support or who improve the lives of people with Autism
Please use #morethanfootball and feel free to tag our #Morethanfootball social media accounts so we can share your posts and activities.