England Football, The FA’s new home for participation and the grassroots game, has today launched Football Your Way, a new campaign to help disabled footballers’ return to the sport after lockdown.
The campaign is funded by Sport England as part of the tackling inequalities funding programme, and provides a new online information hub to help ‘support and motivate’ disabled people to feel confident and empowered to take part in football-based activities.
Cake – the sport, entertainment and culture hub of Havas UK – worked alongside The FA to create and produce the campaign, which will aim to inspire disabled footballers to get active by launching a ‘3 Step Challenge’. The initiative encourages players to design their own three steps to help prepare for their return to the pitch, by picking an activity based around the number three.
The FA has highlighted that over 9.4 million people in England are disabled and research from the Activity Alliance - the national charity for disabled people in sport and activity - which indicates that disabled people and people with long-term health conditions have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
"England Football recognises it has been a particularly difficult period for disabled people and many will be feeling anxious about returning to the game they love,” said Baroness Sue Campbell, The FA’s Director of Women's Football and Strategic Lead for disability football.
“As restrictions across the country lift, everyone’s individual journey back to physical activity will be different and the Football Your Way campaign has been created to offer disabled people support and guidance to return to football at their own pace and in their own circumstances.
“There’s no fixed route for how or when people should return and the campaign will provide support to those who wish to play at home, in the park or return back to a club. For those who have not played football before, the campaign will hopefully provide inspiration to begin their journey and enjoy the game’s long-term health and social benefits.”
James Kendall, The FA’s Director of Football Development said: “This past year has been some of the most challenging times not just for football, but across society. We know that grassroots football has the power to change people’s lives for the better and the Football Your Way campaign will help to encourage disabled footballers back on to the pitch and playing the game they love.
“There are plenty of ways for people to get involved, from taking part in challenges to learning new skills, so I’d encourage everyone to get active and give it a go whenever they feel ready to return.”