The annual Level Playing Field Weeks of Action initiative is now in its 14th year and celebrates everything which is being done by sports clubs across the UK to make stadia accessible and ensure supporters who have a disability are not prevented from following their favourite team.
Here in Sussex AITC delivers disability awareness training to local schools, colleges and businesses. One of the people responsible for that delivery is Kieran Green, who began life with AITC aged just seven as a regular at one of its football sessions for people with a disability. Now 23, Kieran is a player/coach at Brighton & Hove Albion Cerebral Palsy FC and a core member of AITC’s disability coaching team.
His coaching roles involve delivering sessions to young players with a disability, including a session for junior players with cerebral palsy – much like the session Kieran began attending 16 years ago. He also works with young people who are deaf or partially-sighted.
Away from the pitch, Kieran is having just as significant an impact on the way people here in Sussex view disabilities.
In 2018 alone, Kieran and his colleague Hayley Templeman delivered 56 different disability awareness sessions – averaging more than one a week. Some of these will have been based around assemblies, others will have been disability sport taster events, or visits to local businesses. In total, Kieran and Hayley have delivered the training to more than 10,000 people.
That figure includes more than 300 people who work at Brighton & Hove Albion FC and AITC, with disability awareness training given to all members of staff at both football club and charity.
For Kieran, the chance to work for the charity is one that means a lot to him.
He said, “I’ve experienced the benefits of AITC’s work myself and to now be in a position in which I can offer those same opportunities to other people is fantastic.”
Paul Brackley, AITC’s disability manager, was full of praise for Kieran. He said, “Kieran is key member of the team at AITC and it has been fantastic to see him develop both and off the pitch in recent years.
“The disability awareness work Kieran and Hayley do is an incredibly important part of our work at AITC and the personal insight and experience Kieran is able to provide is invaluable.”