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City support World Mental Health Day

16 October 2013

Sky Blues in the Community take part in tournament to help launch Disability Football Development Fund

Sky Blues in the Community fielded a team in a recent tournament organised by Birmingham County FA for adult males with mental health challenges.
The tournament ran on World Mental Health Day, and was used to officially launch the Disability Football Development Fund – a three year programme supported financially by the Football Association and Birmingham County FA to promote disability football. Over 50 adults with mental health challenges turned out on the day representing their local professional football club, with the Sky Blues taking eight players from their Warwick football group.
Over the next three years Sky Blues in the Community will receive £12,000 a year from the new fund to deliver five sessions each week to groups with different disabilities, over 40 weeks of the year. The Sky Blues are joined by Wolves, West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa in delivering the project, and the West Midlands rivals will regularly play football festivals during the course of the project, offering the participants the chance to represent their respective clubs.
Will Perkins, Football Development Officer at Birmingham County FA said: “BCFA and partner organisations saw National Mental Health Awareness Day as the perfect opportunity to launch our new Disability Football Development Fund. We are working with local professional clubs to engage as many people with disabilities in football programmes. The day saw over 50 players with a variety of mental health challenges taking part in football sessions and matches under the guidance of West Midlands club community staff.
“We are pleased to have had such a good turn out on the day and are looking forward to growing the partnerships created - leading to an increase in the  number of players able to access football provision.”
The Sky Blues in the Community team are currently offering five sessions each week. Two sessions a week target adults with mental health challenges (one in Warwick and one in Coventry). Two pan-disability coaching sessions run in Coventry (one for over 16’s and one under 16’s), and another session specifically for females with a range of disabilities.
Guy Rippon – Joint Head of Sky Blues in the Community said “We have been delivering disability football for a number of years, and this new funding allows us to build on those solid foundations and expand our offer to hopefully reach more people. We have a number of key partners locally helping to make this possible – in particular Henley College, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust and mental health charity Rethink.
“We are delighted to be a part of this project funded by the FA and BCFA. It has been a long time in the making, but now the scheme is up and running we really look forward to promoting opportunities for those with a disability to participate in football and to represent Coventry City against other local clubs.”
If you would like to find out more about the sessions on offer as part of the Disability Football Development Fund scheme, please contact the Sky Blues in the Community team on 024 7678 6313.

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