Premier League/BT Disability

Middlesbrough FC scholar helping a child

MFC Foundation’s Premier League/BT Disability project provides opportunities for people across the Tees Valley that have a range of disabilities, including but not restricted to, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, autism and mental health.

MFC Foundation have been engaging people through disability provision since 2014, but recent funding from the Premier League and BT Sport Disability Fund has invigorated the project and as a result has allowed for an increase in the provision and support that this project offers. The PL and BT sport initiative is a three year programme that is designed to inspire and engage disabled people through sport across these four key programme areas:

  • Sport
  • Inclusion
  • Engagement
  • Events

Furthermore, this initiative has identified that disabled people are half as likely to participate in sports as able bodied people, and through MFC Foundations targeted delivery we aim to remove the barriers relating to opportunities and accessibility for disabled people to increase participation.

Key partnerships with local organisations such as Tees Valley Sport and North Riding County FA, among others, are crucial in the development of the project in achieving the strategic aims of community engagement, programme development and delivery, events, and training. This is also supported by the Tees Valley Disability Sports Forum that maps out disability sport in the region to identify current provision and opportunities for potential participants, as well as highlighting the need for new disability specific delivery in areas across the region.

Since September 2016, MFC Foundation’s PL Inclusion project is on course to engage 500+ disabled people within the year, in sport and physical activity, through numerous multi-sport and football specific sessions. This has been achieved through delivery and support at local schools, colleges, community groups and clubs, which has culminated in successful events such as festivals and tournaments that have highlighted and celebrated the success of everyone involved.

We currently run the following sessions during school times:

Acorn Centre

  • Cerebral Palsy: Tuesday 4.45pm – 5.45pm
  • Deaf & Hard of hearing: Tuesday 5.45pm – 6.45pm
  • Pan-Disability (All disabilities): Wednesday 4.45pm – 5.45pm
  • Downs Syndrome: Wednesday 5.45pm – 6.45pm

Contact Lee on lee.grace@mfcfoundation.co.uk or 01642 757674


Football Welcomes: Shaygan’s Story

SHAYGAN is from Iran. His story as a 20-year-old began with MFC Foundation around April 2019 as a participant in our Football Welcomes programme, the very same programme we are highlighting today, the EFL’s Day of Action.

The programme is an initiative to create a more welcoming community for those seeking refuge and asylum. He hadn’t been in the country long before he started attending sessions.

A keen student of football, Shaygan began volunteering on the Football Welcomes programme organising warm-ups, cool downs and various other activities for the participants. He also assisted in getting teams together for regular tournaments against other programmes and indeed Foundations from across the country. Other roles during this time included being an interpreter for coaches for participants from Iranian, Kurdish and Afghan backgrounds.

Upon gaining his status in the country Shaygan was able to sign up to the MFC Foundation traineeships programme. As part of his as well as gaining a number of qualifications based around football such as Sports Leader, First Aid and Safeguarding he also completed 100hrs work experience. The work experience involved him getting knowledge of a number of different programmes the Foundation deliver across the Tees Valley area.

His journey continued when he gained employment with the organisation. After completing his traineeship, he was successful in getting a 20hr a week contract as a Business Support Worker. This involved him being part of the day to day running of the MFC Foundation Herlingshaw Centre as well as assisting on many of the different programmes the Foundation delivers.

Shaygan’s next calling has taken him to London and occasional work with Amnesty UK and Fulham. But he never forgets where his new life started.