Rovers and its official charity, Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, are proud to be able to acknowledge our support for people with a wide range of disabilities to mark the International Day of People With Disabilities and EFL Day of Disabilities.
With Tuesday 3rd December set as the date for both the international and league-wide commemoration of how different organisations and football club charities support people living with disabilities, it is an opportune time to reflect on how both the club and Community Trust provide opportunities to both supporters and the local population.
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 engages daily with a wide range of people with both physical disabilities and learning difficulties, primarily working with children. In a typical week, the Community Trust delivers 19 sessions at 13 primary schools across Lancashire for the benefit of 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, which is unique for this region.
Ahead of the awareness day, the club's official charity invited its partner schools to take part in a Key Stage Two SEND Festival at Blackburn Youth Zone, giving all the participants a chance to sample sports that they may not have previously encountered, such as wheelchair basketball, dodgeball, deaf football and carpet bowls.
Ensuring that it wasn't all competitive for those with different needs, there were also chances to take part in dance, quizzes and design sessions, with a separate breakout room for any children that needed a break from the levels of excitement and exuberance within the venue.
Amy Taylor, head of primary school education at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, explained:
"Our sessions support children who have requirements related to social emotional mental health as well as specific disability sports at both specialist and mainstream schools, with staff who are qualified in understanding the needs of children with both physical impairments and severe learning disabilities.
"Sport offers them a fantastic release and it's clear to see how much joy our sessions bring to those taking part.
"Being able to bring a lot of children together from a variety of local schools for this week's SEND Festival was a hugely rewarding experience and we were delighted to see how well everyone took to the range of activities that we offered at a great local facility."
Everyone at Blackburn Rovers extends their best wishes to all supporters and people from the local community who engage with our disability specific projects and looks forward to welcoming everyone again to Ewood Park soon to continue our positive relationships - most notably with the forthcoming Disabled Supporters' Christmas Party coming up on Wednesday 18th December (6.30pm doors for a 7pm start).