International Day of People with Disabilities: London’s first Visually Impaired/Blind Football Festival
Bloomsbury Football, alongside Learn with ESS (Education, Sport and Speaking) and British Blind Sport, hosted a blind football festival at Football Foundation-funded Market Road in North London to provide blind and visually impaired children in the local area with an opportunity to play football.
At the event, young people were able to take part in a series of football mini sessions focussing on the different skills of the sport, led by England international blind footballer and Founder of Learn ESS, Azeem Amir.
The aim of this event, which for many taking part was their first experience of playing football, was to inspire blind and visually impaired young people to play and create a life-long passion for the sport.
The festival was held on the state-of-the-art 3G football turf pitches at Market Road in Camden, North London, which were funded thanks to a £832,000 grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation. This investment was part of a £2.1 million project in partnership with Islington Council, which also involved refurbishments to the changing pavilion onsite.
Learn with ESS is an initiative that uses ESS-based activities to provide a unique and interactive team cohesion experience whilst addressing stigmatised issues surrounding disability.
Speaking at the event, Learn with ESS Founder and England international blind footballer, Azeem Amir, said:
“Football Foundation-funded facilities like Market Road are massively important in terms of giving local young people opportunities to play which they may not otherwise have had.
“Hopefully, this event will be a great of start of the young people here’s journey into inclusive sport like blind football and disability sport more generally, which they might not have even known existed before today.”
Sam Bunis, Director of Brand, Marketing and Communications at the Football Foundation, said: “At the Football Foundation, we know that having access to great facilities is crucial to people wanting to take part in sport. That’s why we’re working closely with our partners – the Premier League, The FA and Government – to transform the landscape of grassroots facilities across the country.
“Our role is to fund great facilities like the ones here at Market Road. But without groups like Bloomsbury to then deliver great activities on these sites, we wouldn’t’ be making that fundamental change to the game as a whole.”
Bloomsbury Football is a grassroots football charity that uses the power of football to change the game for over 5,000 young people a week in London.
Cameron Gordon, Foundation Manager at Bloomsbury Football, said: “It’s great for Bloomsbury Football and the Football Foundation are so aligned in our vision to make football as accessible as possible. Using a facility that is accessible for everyone to get more young people involved in football is exactly what Bloomsbury Football and the Football Foundation are all about.”