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


Charlie Is A Coach To The Core

One day Charlie Morris hopes to run her own team but for now she’s happy putting in all the hours she can learning every day from the chance she has been given.

When we meet during one of her sessions across one of the many projects she works on with MFC Foundation, hoping to gain a Coach Core qualification, she is putting a group of around 30 girls aged between five and nine through a warm-up exercise at the Herlingshaw Centre in Eston.

“I’ve been there,” she says. “I started playing football when I was two, I can relate to where they are now. Some like football, some have no idea what to do, but we have fun. At this age, it is about them enjoying themselves. If they are, then that gives me confidence.

“When I was younger there was none of these courses, now there are a few.”

There is an acknowledgement that as a young woman she is in a minority in a sport still dominated by males. But, she says, that’s changing.

“There are not many opportunities for women in coaching right now, not compared to men. It’s changing now though, already I can see a difference after the Women’s World Cup and the netball World Cup.

“I largely work with girls, but I do coach boys too sometimes. Some boys tell me I don’t know what I’m doing, but I do. It’s very important to be given a chance to show what you can do and I’m grateful for that.

“I love football, I’m a Boro fan, one day I’d like to run my own team, run my own drills and training sessions.

“I wasn’t really good at school, not at English and Maths anyway, PE was the only thing I was good at so coaching seemed a good idea.

“I’ve had help along the way in the three or four years I’ve been coaching, I did it in college too. I learn from each of the coaches I work with or under, the good and bad bits!

“One day I hope I’ll be in a position to help other people who want to take the same route as me.”