The Premier League and BT have produced a short film - Inspiring Disabled People Through Sport: Balding and Cockroft’s Inspiring Stories - that examines how sport can help create opportunities for disabled people and highlights some of the individuals that have benefitted from the Premier League and BT Disability programme that launched in September 2016.
BT Sport’s Clare Balding hosts the film that also features Paralympian Hannah Cockroft, who won two gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympics, and helped launch the programme alongside fellow Paralympian Jonnie Peacock at the London Stadium.
Balding said: “This film is all about showcasing the amazing work taking place through this initiative, giving people with disabilities an equal chance to access sport in their community. It’s also about showcasing how the power of sport is in unique in creating such opportunities.”
Inspiring Disabled People Through Sport features the stories of participants from Premier League clubs including; Burnley, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United.
Participants appearing in the short film include Burnley FC’s Volunteer Community Coach Joe Skinner, a Clarets fan of 10 years, who was born with cerebral palsy. Joe became heavily involved in the disability work taking place at the club after former player Danny Ings presented him with a pair of boots after a game in 2013.
Also featuring are Chelsea team-mates Luka, 9, who suffers from 18p Deletion Syndrome and severe hypermobility, and Archie, 10, who suffers from Sleepapnia and Cleidocranial dysplasia, both of whom have benefited from the pan-disability football sessions run by the Chelsea Foundation.
The film features a number of Premier League players whom attended their clubs’ disability sessions including; Spurs and England defender Danny Rose, Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni, Middlesbrough striker Alvaro Negredo and West Ham centre back Winston Reid.
The three-year Premier League and BT Disability programme aims to create opportunities and inspire disabled people through sport. The 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.
Paralympian Hannah Cockroft, said: “I was so excited when I heard that the Premier League and BT were embarking on an inclusion programme around disability sport. When I was younger, I was not allowed to take part in sports due to health and safety concerns.
“However, programmes like this are breaking boundaries and stigmas that exist around disability sport. People don’t realise that sport is not just physical activity, it’s learning how to socialise, learning how to make friends and learning life skills. It’s great that the participants now have a sense of belonging and that’s what this whole initiative is all about.”
To see more of the work the Inspiring programme has achieved since September 2016 click here.