A national social care charity (Community Integrated Care), have joined forces with Manchester City’s charity (City in the Community) in launching an online accessible sports club for people who access care and support in their daily lives.
Weekly sessions have kicked off, delivered by a specialist community coaching team from Manchester City’s charity, hosted live on the charity’s ‘What To Do’ website (www.What-To-Do.co.uk) every Friday at 2pm. This unique online hub offers a range of interactive activities every day, in partnership with leading sports and cultural groups.
The ’Accessible Sports Club’, is a football-themed open exercise programme, purposely designed with an emphasis on accessibility, adaptability, and inclusion. Co-designed by the charities, it welcomes people with autism, learning disabilities and age-related concerns every week to enjoy opportunities to learn, discover new skills, have fun, and connect with others. Throughout November and December, sessions are aligned to the FIFA World Cup, with special games inspired by countries and players competing at the tournament.
With a friendly, welcoming environment to all football and non-football fans, the programme is helping people stay fit and active from the comfort of their own home. According to the Office of National Statistics ‘Outcomes for disabled people in the UK’, in the year ending March 2021, disabled people were more likely to report feelings of loneliness “often or always” (15.1%) than non-disabled people (3.6%), a percentage point difference of 11.5. The programme has been specially designed to combat issues such as isolation and loneliness, with coaches building a rapport with participants week after week through engaging delivery.
The charity behind ‘What To Do’, Community Integrated Care, is one of Britain’s biggest and most successful health and social care charities. It supports over 4,000 people across England and Scotland who have learning disabilities, mental health concerns, autism, and dementia, employing 6,000 staff nationally.
Man City star Ilkay Gundogan, is proudly an ambassador for the charity, and last season invited a group of 30 people supported by the charity and staff members to enjoy a Premier League game at the Etihad Stadium, to mark his 31st birthday.
Sean Dwyer, Delivery Manager at City in the Community, says,
“City in the Community’s purpose is to empower healthier lives through football, something which perfectly aligns with Community Integrated care.
“Our staff are passionate about using the hook of football to improve physical and mental wellbeing, and we’re confident that working with the ‘What To Do’ website we’ll be able to have an even bigger impact.”
Craig Thomason, Partnerships and Communities Manager at Community Integrated Care, says,
“What To Do is about doing accessible activities differently – and partnering with the community team of the Premier League Champions shows our intention to create the absolute best experiences for people with learning disabilities.
“Our programmes are fun, fresh, and person-centred, delivered by specialists and free to all who access care and support. We’re thrilled to now share these benefits with many more people through this unique website. From the moment we met with Paul and the team (at CITC), we knew there was a shared enthusiasm and drive for supporting people with learning disabilities to live the best lives possible.”
“What To Do is a website like no other for people and families who access care and support. Whatever your interests or passions, there’s always something to do – and we’d like to encourage any persons, groups, or families from across Man City’s fanbase, or who access Disability Sports provision provided by CITC, to join our new ‘Accessible Sports Club’.”
Oliver Thomason, Sports Inclusion Assistant at Community Integrated Care, says,
“These sessions have been amazing for me. I have a learning disability and I’m always looking for new fun and accessible things to try. It’s been great to meet new people, to try so many new things and sometimes, just have a laugh and a chat. I love football, sports and like to exercise, but it’s so much more than that to me. If you are ever bored and looking for something to do, please do join in the fun at www.What-To.Do.co.uk”