(PRESS RELEASE) – A delegation of seven coaches and youth mentors from the charity arm of top UK football club Stoke City Community Trust are on Island to help deliver a new programme for children with disabilities here in St. Lucia.
The ground breaking initiative, which is supported by the Premier League’s International Development Fund, sees locally-based Sacred Sports Foundation (SSF) linking with Stoke City Community Trust (SCCT) with the aim of developing eight youth mentors, four from St. Lucia and four from the UK.
“This exciting new programme will help expand our disability programmes in the region,” said Nova Alexander, Executive Director of SSF. “The exchange programme with SCCT is part of our capacity building efforts working with people with disabilities and local special schools.”
The push to increase accessible sport for development opportunities sees SCCT and SSF working collaboratively to deliver a programme that produces long-term impact and positive outcomes for all involved. “We are proud to help lead these inclusion and diversity efforts,” said Carl Bennett, Inclusion, Disability & Health Lead at SCCT.
The SCCT team arrived in St. Lucia on Thursday, September 13 for a ten-day programme that will see the group working with more than 160 youth with disabilities and training the youth mentors to deliver engaging sport sessions with children from around the island at local special schools.
Mr. Bennett said the Premier League has provided UK £20,000 of support and the youth mentors from Stoke have been working hard to support the trip and raised some UK £3,000 as part of their commitment to working with their peers in St. Lucia.
The group of 8 youth mentors will lead a range of sessions throughout the week including blind football, Boccia and adapted football games to engage local youth from the special schools.
Resident British Commissioner, Steve McCready, hosted specially invited guests to an event celebrating the programme on 20 September. He said “This is an encouraging example of St Lucian and British organisations working together to achieve meaningful and lasting change. Everyone involved deserves great credit.”
The programme will culminate on Friday, September 21, with a mass gathering of youth at a day- long multi-skill adapted programme at the indoor arena in Beausejour.