Disability project making a big impact

Patrick Bamford at the Burnley FC in the Community pan-disability session
Patrick Bamford at the Burnley FC in the Community pan-disability session

On loan Clarets forward Patrick Bamford hit the nail on the head when attending Burnley FC in the Community’s pan-disability coaching session alongside Aiden O’Neill at Turf Moor.

With media heavyweights pumping Premier League promotional propaganda into the mainstream, it can sometimes mask the mechanics of what really makes a club tick.

That’s a sentiment shared by Bamford who, despite experiencing temporary spells at five other clubs during his tenure at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea, hadn’t had the privilege of becoming acquainted with the people that really matter.

“It’s been good,” said the 23-year-old. “It’s the first time that I’ve done anything like this so I’ve enjoyed it. I think with everything that goes on in football you sometimes forget everyday life and the important things.

“Seeing all the kids’ faces and how happy they were - it’s really refreshing and you get a sense of what it means to everyone and how much football can touch people.

“People like these make a club like Burnley. It’s only a small town but everyone are massive fans. It’s nice to see it touching people like this and it makes a massive impact.”

He added: “I’d heard about this through Ingsy when I was with England with him. He said that it meant a lot to him and I didn’t quite understand how much of a big thing it was and how much effort goes in to it. The set up is fantastic and their plans for the future are really good.”

First team boss Sean Dyche has long been a firm advocate of strengthening the bond between club and community and that’s something the Clarets can achieve through its official charity.

Founded in February 2014, staff affiliated with Burnley FC in the Community, in association with representatives of the football club itself, work to transform people’s lives for the better through inspirational, supportive and innovative programmes.

Their work is channelled into five key areas; sports, education, health, social inclusion and community facilities.

Now their team run over 30 community projects that touch the lives of a huge spectrum of people of all ages in and around Burnley.

The disability sport project, in existence for two years, founded in partnership with former Burnley striker, Ings, has gone from strength to strength in that time.

Later invested in by local company Capll and further boosted earlier this year by a grant from Children in Need, the additional funding this season from BT Sport and the Premier League will see the outreach of the provision triple over the next three years.

The scope of disability sport at Burnley FC in the Community will now incorporate Pan-disability sport sessions, impairment-specific sports sessions at a recreational level,impairment specific competitive squads, Burnley Disability FC, a dance centre for people with disabilities, disability awareness in mainstream primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities, inclusive sport sessions in mainstream schools for participants both with disabilities and without a disability and a renewed focus on disability liaison and accessible stadia.

Up to 800 participants take part in the disability sport provision every week. Matt Pounder, head of sport with the award-winning Burnley FC in the Community, said: “It’s been great to see it grow through involvement with BT and the Premier League.

“There are two components - the Danny Ings disability sports project has been successful around engaging disability participants in sport. Now through BT and the Premier League and their disability programme we’re going to triple if not quadruple the amount of outreach that we can give to disabled people.”