WHO RUNS THE PROGRAMME?
28 EFL Clubs run Every Player Counts programmes that are tailored to the specific needs of their local community.
The 28 EFL Club Community Organisations deliver activity covering a wide range of disability programmes including wheelchair football, football for visual impairment, learning difficulties, amputees and autism, giving many disabled people access to football for the first time.
Although individual programmes will differ from club to club, the emphasis is always on increasing participation, improving health and championing the social benefits of taking part in football.
Mike Evans, EFL Trust Director of Operations, said: “We are very proud of the first three successful years of Every Player Counts programme. As we move into the next two years, we are pleased to add funding from our own organisation’s charity reserves to expand the reach and opportunities within this programme. We look forward to hearing the many moving stories that we have become used to as the programme literally changes and improves the lives of its many participants.”
WHAT IS THE AIM?
The over-riding aim of the scheme is to increase the amount of disabled people participating in football reaching out to over 5,000 people per year, breaking down the barriers that have prevented them from doing so.
Since the London 2012 Paralympics, we have seen a major increase in the number of disabled people playing sport or wanting to do so. This programme builds on previous work at both WNST and EFL Trust and continues the expansion of the opportunities available to disabled people to get involved.
Stewart Goshawk, CEO at Wembley National Stadium Trust, said: “Every Player Counts has been our flagship programme for the past three years. The range and quality of opportunities created for disabled people to play football has been so impressive, with participants coming back week after week.”
Nicola Grundy, Personalised Provision Teacher in Bolton, said: “Every Player Counts with Bolton Wanderers has really helped the students improve their social skills. Sometimes getting out of a classroom and doing activities in the community, can be so beneficial and give the students a whole new range of experiences.”
“I feel like when I score a goal I do it for Fulham, for the badge. I love it, passing the ball, talking to my friends.” Tom, Every Player Counts participant, Fulham Foundation.