BT and the Premier League have launched a three-year programme that aims to create opportunities and inspire disabled people through sport.
The partnership will see the organisations working together to provide funding to Premier League clubs to create more opportunities for disabled people across England and Wales.
Launched at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the home of the 2012 London Paralympic and Olympic Games, the initiative aims to inspire disabled people to become more active as well as develop new skills and confidence.
Premier League clubs will employ a dedicated Disability Officer responsible for co-ordinating the programme and promoting inclusion, pending a successful independent funding application assessment process.
Disability Officers will work with local agencies to amplify existing work and deliver programmes that engage disabled people through sport. Programme areas will include:
- Sport: opportunities for disabled people to take part in physical activities.
- Inclusion: ensuring 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.
The 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 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.”
Gavin Patterson, chief executive officer of BT Group, added: “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.
“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.
“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.”
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.