CITC launch 'Power Chair' football sessions
As part of CITC's three-year 'One City' Disability Sport programme, five sports - football, tennis, rugby, netball and athletics - have been delivered to ten specialist support schools in Manchester. Overall, the programme has engaged over 600 participants and an aggregate of 8,000 contacts per year.
One of the projects consisted of weekly football sessions for wheelchair users at Lancastrian School in West Didsbury. Fifteen pupils took part, receiving coaching sessions and the opportunity to play football.
For some of the group, it was the first time they had been able to participate in the sport and as a result of the course, their teachers noticed improvements in self-esteem and behaviour.
CITC therefore identified a gap in provision for wheelchair users in Manchester and have since launched 'power chair' sessions to create safe, positive environments for as many young people as possible to enjoy.
Power chair football is a competitive team sport, played in a gymnasium or on a regulation basketball court, for people with disabilities who use power wheelchairs. There are both regional and national leagues that are governed by the wheelchair football association and one of CITC's long-term aims is to enter an MCFC team into these leagues.
Sessions will take place every Thursday between 5:30pm and 7:00pm at the Factory Youth Zone in Harpurhey, Manchester.
Paul Kelly, Disability Co-Ordinator at CITC, said: "Power chair football is something we have been trying to implement for a long time. City in the Community have always provided disability sport. However, we have never delivered any provision for wheelchair users outside of school time.
"We are always striving to provide equal opportunities for everyone to play football and would love to create a Manchester City power chair football team."
CITC Ambassador Alex Williams MBE, who attended the event launch, was delighted with his team's efforts in creating more opportunities for disabled people in the area:
"Wheelchair football is quite an expensive sport so getting children involved is quite difficult," he said. "It's great for us to have this additional project which allows children to use the wheelchairs we have on site."