Tuesday 17 December 2013
Disabled people in the Manchester region have been enjoying football sessions thanks to a new project launched by City in The Community, Manchester City's community arm.
"We are striving to give equal opportunities for everyone to play and would love to create a Man City powerchair football team"
CITC's three-year "One City" Disability Sport programme delivers five sports – football, tennis, rugby, netball and athletics – to 10 specialist support schools in the city. The programme has engaged more than 600 participants and a total of 8,000 contacts a year.
One of the newest projects is one for "powerchair football" sessions. Powerchair football is a competitive team sport, played by people with disabilities who use power wheelchairs. There are regional and national leagues governed by the wheelchair football association and one of CITC's aims is to enter a Manchester City team into these leagues.
The project was set up after CITC had identified a gap in provision for wheelchair users in the city. CITC's weekly football sessions for wheelchair users at Lancastrian School in West Didsbury offered some disabled people their first chance to participate in the sport and, as a result, their teachers had noticed improvements in the participants' self-esteem and behaviour.
Sessions are now taking place every Thursday 5.30pm-7pm at the Factory Youth Zone in Harpurhey, Manchester.
"Power chair football is something we have been trying to implement for a long time," Paul Kelly, Disability Co-Ordinator at CITC, said. "City in the Community have always provided disability sport, however, we have never delivered any provision for wheelchair users outside school time.
"We are always striving to provide equal opportunities for everyone to play football and would love to create a Man City power chair football team."
CITC Ambassador Alex Williams MBE, who attended the event launch, was delighted with his team's efforts in creating more opportunities for disabled people in the area.
"Wheelchair football is quite an expensive sport so getting children involved is quite difficult," Williams said. "It's great for us to have this additional project which allows children to use the wheelchairs we have on site."