Young people with disabilities from nine Wigan Borough schools recently competed in the annual Every Player Counts football festival at Wigan Soccerdome.
Hosted by Wigan Athletic Community Trust, the event saw more than 100 children from schools including Atherton Community High School, Dean Trust, Hawkley Hall, Hope, Oakfield, St John Fisher, St Peter’s, Standish and Shevington in attendance at the third year of the festival.
Launched in Wigan by first team stars Will Grigg and Michael Jacobs in 2016, the festival aimed to improve the skills and techniques of participants through a number of inclusive activities before taking part in a football tournament.
The Every Player Counts programme is funded by the Wembley National Stadium Trust and administered by the EFL Trust, and aims to get more people with disabilities involved in sport.
Sean Rowlinson, Sports Coach at Wigan Athletic Community Trust, said: “This event continues to go from strength to strength with more and more young people involved each time. The festival this year was a real success and was well received by both participants and schools. Every Player Counts scheme has seen us work with more than 600 people with disabilities in Wigan, giving them the opportunity to play football and sport, but more importantly helping them to improve their development and confidence, as well as meeting new people.”
The Community Trust engage with schools and colleges across the borough on a weekly basis as part of the programme, and work with the club’s junior and adult disability football teams who compete in the Greater Manchester Ability Counts League.