Premier League and BT team up to create disability sport initiative
- Three-year programme to inspire disabled people through sport
- The Premier League and BT Disability Programme to engage millions through local community collaborations and TV programming
- Partnership deepens both organisations’ commitment to inclusion and sport-for-change projects
The Premier League and BT have launched a three-year programme that aims to create opportunities and inspire disabled people through sport. This partnership will see the organisations work together to provide funding to Premier League clubs to create more opportunities for disabled people across England and Wales.
Launched today (28 September) at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, home of the 2012 London Paralympic and Olympic Games, the initiative will utilise 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:
- Sport: opportunities for disabled people to take part in sport and physical activity
- Inclusion: ensuring that staff make reasonable adjustments to make activities inclusive to all
- Engagement: ensuring disabled people have a positive experience of the programme
- Events: clubs will deliver activities to raise awareness of their work in this space. The Premier League and BT will organise a national event at the end of each season, to give participants the opportunity to come together and mark their achievements
The award-winning BT Sport Films team will produce and broadcast short films on the individuals and storylines involved in the initiative, raising the profile of the project and clubs’ broader inclusion work to millions of people. BT Group will enhance delivery of the project by contributing thousands of hours of additional manpower through its respected employee volunteering programme.
Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman, Premier League, said: “Premier League clubs already run a wide range of excellent programmes that provide sporting and educational opportunities for disabled people. 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.”
Gavin Patterson, chief executive officer, BT Group, said: “BT is a long-term supporter of disability sport and is passionately committed to inclusion and diversity for our people and customers. Our partnership with the Premier League underpins BT’s firm belief that disabled people should have every opportunity that non-disabled people have. We have a strong commitment to an inclusive culture by improving the experience of our disabled employees. BT is firmly committed to serving our disabled customers appropriately through our innovative Customer Inclusion Panel which develops the best experience and choice for all customers.
“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. We are thrilled to deepen our long-term partnership with the Premier League and proud that this initiative is another step in BT’s journey towards our goal of generating more than £1 billion for good causes by 2020 through our people, fund-raising, skills and technology.”
Notes to editors:
- Funding will be open to club community organisations in the Premier League during the 2015/16 season and those promoted to the Premier League for the 2016/17 season. It will also be open to any newly promoted club community organisations in 2017/18 and 2018/19. The programme will fund projects on an annual basis and will close to new applications in July 2018.
- Through its Club Community Organisations, the Premier League has shown a long-term commitment to delivering disability sport programmes. The PLPFA Community Fund has provided significant investment in this area to enable clubs to deliver wide range of disability sport focused programmes.Clubs are regularly accessing local funding to deliver disability sport provision as well as health, education and employment programmes for disabled people.
- BT is a long-term supporter of sport-for-change projects and aims to generate more than £1 billion for good causes by 2020. Through The Supporters Club, BT Sport’s charitable initiative, more than £6m has been raised and thousands of young lives enhanced in the UK and overseas. BT has also been a long-term supporter of good causes and disability organisations such as Children In Need, Comic Relief, Sport Relief, the British Paralympic Association and the GB Wheelchair Rugby team. Furthermore, BT is a supporter of the ‘100% Sport’ initiative – a collaboration with the likes of Sir Ben Ainslie calling on sports fans to take action for a more sustainable world.