Sunderland AFC’s and its official charity, Foundation of Light, are showing their support for the EFL Day of Disabilities (Tuesday 3 December) with a range of activities highlighting the work being carried out across the club to create an inclusive environment for disabled supporters.
A number of activities have been planned to celebrate the day, including Foundation of Light Director Jamie Wright teaching Black Cats fans basic British Sign Language, including phrases they might use in the stadium stands, so they can support friends who have a hearing impairment on a match day.
Sunderland AFC and the Foundation have also committed to teach basic sign language to key matchday staff, to provide a more inclusive experience for home and away fans. The club has a rich history of providing facilities for disabled fans, including becoming the first club in the UK to open a Sensory Room for fans with autism and warm-room to help fans in wheelchairs.
This week, the Foundation is also announcing the launch of the EFL Trust’s ‘Every Player Counts’ programme which enables people with a range of disabilities to take part in football. The Every Player Counts sessions run every Thursday at the Beacon of Light between 1.30pm and 2.30pm, providing fans with a range of disabilities the opportunity to take part in football specific games with their peers.
Finally, the multi award-winning Beacon of Light will be lit up purple - the chosen colour of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities - on the evening of Tuesday 3 December to show support for the day.
Speaking about the EFL Day of Disabilities campaign, Jamie Wright, Foundation of Light’s Director of Programmes said: “We’re very proud to support the EFL Day of Disabilities and show people what is being done to make football more inclusive.
“We have a long history of supporting people with disabilities and ensuring they still have opportunities to take part and excel in sport and education.
“The EFL Day of Disabilities also links in with our Give a Quid for Social Isolation campaign, which aims to raise £30,000 to support a range of programmes which tackles loneliness in society. Studies suggest 85% of adults aged 18 to 34 with a disability report feeling lonely but by giving them the chance to take part in sessions like this we can tackle that and prevent social isolation.”
Sunderland AFC’s Head of Supporter Engagement, Chris Waters, said: “The Foundation of Light’s support for the EFL’s Day of Disabilities, and their continued work across the community, is life changing for so many.
“The Beacon of Light is a superb facility for sport and education, and everyone involved with the EFL’s Every Player Counts campaign will enjoy a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
“All activities that are set up to improve the matchday experience at the Stadium of Light for all supporters are greatly appreciated, and we look forward to welcoming fans that take part in the event to home games in the near future.”
For more information about EFL Day of Disabilities and the range of inclusion-focussed programmes delivered by Foundation of Light visit www.foundationoflight.co.uk
Donations to the Give a Quid campaign can be made in person at the Beacon of Light, or online via the Foundation of Light website.
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