DISABILITY FOOTBALL CLUB SCORE EXPANSION GRANT

rewvalleysportscentreVectis Blue Disability Football Club, the Isle of Wight’s only football club for young people with disabilities, will be expanding thanks to a cash-injection and business support from the UK’s largest Sport for Development charity, Sported.

The Vectis Blue Disability Football Club was established in 2013 to give young people with disabilities on the Isle of Wight the opportunity to play football. In doing so, the club helps improve its players’ quality of life by providing a safe environment in which to socialise, increase their physical fitness and develop life-skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership.

Despite Vectis Blue Disability Football Club’s early successes engaging 30 young people each week and developing partnerships with the likes of the Isle of Wight Council, John’s Club, Short Breaks, Southern Vectis Bus Company and various schools on the Island, as a relatively new organisation, the club has struggled to attract the required levels of funding, so in late 2013, approached Sported for support and guidance.

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As a charity, Sported provides funding and business support to grassroots organisations that are dedicated to transforming young lives through sport. To support Vectis Blue with its expansion plans, the opening of a second venue on the other side of the Island and on becoming more sustainable, Sported awarded the club support from one of its network of volunteer business mentors.  Southsea resident and Sported Mentor, Lee Butler, was paired with Vectis Blue and has been working closely with club volunteers, Allan Murphy, Janet Mackay and Sarah Bull, for the last six months on formalising its operations and putting together a robust business plan.

Following this successful partnership, Sported has now awarded the club a grant of £6,696. The money will be used to fund the training of qualified coaches, which will double the Vectis Blue’s capacity, thus creating even more opportunities for young people with disabilities to play the beautiful game.

Janet Mackay, Secretary at Vectis Blue Disability Football Club, said:

“Vectis Blue was set up due to the lack of opportunities and facilities on the Isle of Wight for young people with disabilities. The club aims to give these young people a place to socialise, make new friends, improve their physical fitness and increase their confidence. We want to reinforce what disabled young people can do, rather than what they can’t.”

“The expansion of Vectis Blue and the opening up of a second venue is a fundamental requirement to cope with the demand from the young people on the Island. But to ensure this is a success, we need more qualified coaches. Now, thanks to the mentor support from Lee and funding from Sported, we are in position to move forwards with our plans. We are enormously grateful for all Sported’s support, without which this simply would not have been possible.”

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Lee Butler, volunteer business mentor at Sported, said:

“I was really impressed with the way Allan and Janet at Vectis Blue have established links with schools, businesses and charitable organisations to embed the club into the heart of Island life. They are providing a wonderful service to young people with disabilities and hopefully with their business plans and funding in place, they can now go from strength to strength.”

Vectis Blue Disability Football Club currently runs weekly sessions on Thursday between 17:00-19:00 at Rew Valley School in Ventnor for young people aged 4 – 18 years. If you are interested in joining the club, please contact Janet Mackay on [email protected] or 01983 865377 for more information.

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