Football foundation pledges to improve support for people with disabilities

The Aston Villa Foundation has become the latest big name to sign up to a pioneering pledge to deliver more inclusive activity and sport to people with disabilities.

Spearheaded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in partnership with Sport England and Activity Alliance, Include Me West Midlands confirms an organisation’s commitment to breaking down the barriers disabled people face to being more active.

The Aston Villa Foundation, which promotes health and wellbeing, disability, education and learning, young people and sport and physical activity, is one of more than 30 organisations to have signed the pledge since its launch in May.

Football foundation pledges to improve support for people with disabilities

Debbi Rawson, Aston Villa Foundation projects manager

The foundation is now committed to embedding the Activity Alliance Talk to Me principles into its planning and delivery of services, which support organisations to raise awareness of opportunities and make physical activity more appealing to disabled people by listening and understanding their needs.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, who chairs the WMCA, said: “Include Me WM has captured the hearts and minds of businesses and organisations since its launch in the spring, and it’s a great endorsement to have such a high profile organisation as the Aston Villa Foundation on board.

“The WMCA has an ambition to make the West Midlands a centre of excellence for disabled sport, and I am glad that, through Include Me WM, we are really starting to lead the way in increasing physical activity for people with disabilities.”

Debbi Rawson, Aston Villa Foundation projects manager, said: “Aston Villa Foundation is delighted to be part of the Include Me WM Pledge. We have worked hard over the last two years, with the support of partners such as Activity Alliance, to improve our disability provision and ensure all our sessions are inclusive.

“We are committed to working with disabled individuals, to listen, learn and make ongoing improvements to engage and provide inclusive opportunities for everyone.

“We hope other organisations see the benefit of joining the pledge, so that we can work together to improve the lives of disabled people.”

The University of Wolverhampton’s WLV Sport, Sandwell Council, Midland Mencap, and UK Deaf Sport are among other organisations to have signed up to Include Me WM.

For more information about Include Me WM click here and follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #IncludeMeWM.