The aims of the programme are to:
- Improve the health of disabled children in Rochdale by providing the opportunity for them to take part in regular physical activity and receive coaching from trained professional staff who will work with them to break down any barriers to taking part and help them have fun.
- Make a positive impact on the social skills of the children and young people who attend by greatly enhancing use of appropriate communication, better anger management, more empathy for others and a willingness to share and take turns in regular activities.
- Provide opportunities that inspire the children to achieve and make a difference in their lives. Trust staff want to help them break down barriers to what they want to achieve. The programme will provide a balance between support, raised aspiration levels and increased achievements.
The Dale in the Community Trust currently provide activities for the club’s Ability Counts Club, but they wish to wider their programme. This will include working with impairment-specific groups.
They are also in the process of employing a qualified disability officer to drive the programme forward, improving the experience gained by children.
Head of Community Keith Hicks commented: “We want to do more of the things that children and their families tell us they love about our work, especially providing increased opportunities for children to travel outside of Rochdale and take part in football festivals and social activities.
“The project will work with more mainstream schools to help them gain a better understanding of children with disabilities and help them to be more inclusive.
“Trust staff will continue to develop and be fully aware of the barriers facing disabled children and their families and have the knowledge and skills to help break down these barriers.
“There will be opportunities for young people to gain leadership and coaching experience and qualifications, and work to develop positive role models from our programme that can become involved as coaches.
“Ultimately we need to be able to spend more time listening to what the children and their parents want.”
The funding will also help to provide regular weekly football coaching sessions at an inspiring venue, using trained and highly skilled staff to further enhance the experience received by the children. Trust staff will also use a range of activities, sports, fun games and adapted equipment to make sessions both fun and challenging, to understand the benefits of exercise and playing sport and how they can start to do this in their own time as well.”