THE Albion Foundation’s Head of Disability Paul Glover talks us through a dynamic 2017 and prepares us for a groundbreaking 2018…
2017 was dynamic. It was ever-evolving, fast-moving, and it exceeded expectations of where we would be when we set out the plans at the start of the year.
Things have continued to grow and move forwards, but with quality.
We had a very successful year in terms of the number of participants we saw.
Within the academic year we saw around 1,700 different participants and we had a very high retention rate, so we were seeing many of them repeatedly.
We achieved many firsts, last year.
We now have an amputee football team and our Queen Alexandra College project with the powerchairs is the first of its kind in the country, which shows that we are leading the way.
We also started the Sandwell Inclusion League, which is a PAN disability football league, run by our staff at the Foundation.
We have 21 teams in there which shows just how well it has done and we have had some really good feedback on it.
Albion Cares had more success last year, as we had our first three members on that course, who all gained a lot from the experience and successfully moved onto the next stage of their careers.
Looking at this year, 2018 is going to be a groundbreaking year for our department.
We are constantly trying new things and searching for new ways to develop.
We are looking at trying to run a diabetes football festival this summer, which is not something that has been done in this country before, which is one of many new initiatives we are introducing.
We ran a first of its kind course coaching PAN disability footballers just last week.
It was adapted for us around the ethos of The Albion Foundation, which is not something which had been done before.
We ran our first ever Williams Syndrome Festival last year, which was something that had never been done before and we will run that again at the end of the year and I think that will be bigger and better than last time now that we know what that is about.
We are looking to build on our Albion Memories group, too, which is another groundbreaking project.
Our powerchair first team and blind team are both top of the league, so we are hoping to continue the progression of our elite teams.
We have got staff that really understand and want to work with people with disabilities.
We work with schools to work out what works well and our staff are very good at adapting.
We have had some really good feedback from the new schools we are working with and we create a safe environment for the children to thrive and develop friends that will last them a lifetime.
For more information about the Foundation's Disability Department, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.