Sporting organisations from across the city came together at Villa Park on Monday as the Aston Villa Foundation hosted the Birmingham Inclusive Sports Fest.
A total of 260 people, comprising of local school children and members of the general public, were in attendance in the Academy Building as a day of activities was put on to showcase the range of disability provision available in Birmingham.
Arranged by Sport Birmingham and sponsored by Irwin Mitchell, the sixth and latest instalment of the annual event was the most successful to date, according to Midlands Sports Coordinator Callan Barber.
She said: “I’ve seen it grow year on year, which is pleasing. The Birmingham Inclusive Sports Forum helps to shape the event every year and it’s really good to see lots of organisations being a part of the event and making it so successful.
“It’s been the biggest and best event we’ve had so far in the history of the Sports Fest.”
Attendees got to sample a broad range of sports on the day with tennis, cycling, boccia, fishing, laser shooting and archery on offer alongside the Aston Villa Foundation’s football activities.
The event was also graced by Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Yvonne Mosquito, who took time out of her busy schedule to try her hand at some of the sports.
She said: “This is inspirational. Individuals of varying abilities participating in and doing things that they wouldn’t normally do. I think it’s incredible.
“The fact that we can bring together this rich tapestry of human talent and harness it so that people can participate in sports and be brilliant at archery and good at football is brilliant.”
The Aston Villa Foundation’s disability programmes, which are funded by the PL/BT Sport Disability Fund, offers informal, organised and competitive activities for people with disabilities from the age of six right through to adulthood.
But the club is keen to expand it’s offering in the near future, with plans in place to launch four new teams.
Disability Engagement Officer, Greg Southall, said: “We’ve got four new teams that are going to be starting up soon, starting with blind football and then a number of additional ones. There’s going to be a girls’ offer, we’re going to have a cerebral palsy offer and a visually impaired offer.
“There’s a real enthusiasm at the club to try and support people around the city. It’s not just about trying to show that Aston Villa have the most elite teams going, it’s very entry level and it’s about trying to include everybody.
“Aston Villa wants to support everyone and that sort of ethos is brilliant.”
If you would like to find out more about Aston Villa Foundation’s disability provision, contact Debbi Rawson via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 327 2299 (Ext 546).