The Premier League and BT have launched a three-year programme to create opportunities and inspire disabled people through sport.
Under the partnership the two organisations will work together in the Premier League and BT Disability Programme to provide funding to PL clubs and create more opportunities for disabled people across England and Wales.
Launched on 28 September at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, home of the 2012 London Paralympic and Olympic Games and to West Ham United’s London Stadium, the initiative will use the profile and expertise of the Premier League, BT Group, professional football clubs and BT Sport to inspire disabled people to become more active as well as develop new skills and confidence.
Following an independent funding application assessment process, successful Premier League clubs will employ a dedicated Disability Officer responsible for co-ordinating the programme and promoting inclusion.
Disability officers will work with local agencies to amplify existing work and deliver programmes that engage disabled people through sport.
Sport will be used to provide a range of opportunities such as volunteering, education, employability, and apprenticeships. Programme areas will include:
BT Group will enhance delivery of the project by contributing thousands of hours of additional manpower through its respected employee volunteering programme.
"Premier League clubs already run a wide range of excellent programmes that provide sporting and educational opportunities for disabled people," Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman of the Premier League, said.
“This innovative new partnership means even more will benefit from our clubs' expertise and the unique attributes that sport delivers, as well as opportunities across all club community areas, from coaching through to employment.
“BT has a strong track-record of supporting community projects through BT Sport’s The Supporters Club and a commitment to inclusivity, which is why our clubs are so keen to work with them to help disabled people get more opportunities through sport.”
BT Sport chief executive officer Gavin Patterson said the programme was an extension of the company's strong commitment to an inclusive culture.
“As BT Sport continues to grow and establish itself within the sporting landscape, this initiative typifies how BT will use the power of sport as an enabler of social change," he said.
“We are thrilled to deepen our long-term partnership with the Premier League and proud this initiative is another step in BT’s journey towards our goal of generating more than £1billion for good causes by 2020 through our people, fund-raising, skills and technology."