Sheffield City Council today, launch a new campaign working with Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, Sheffield and Hallamshire County Football Association and the Yorkshire Sport Foundation to encourage people with hidden disabilities to attend football matches.
The Team Up! initiative will provide support to people with mental health problems and other hidden disabilities so that everyone, regardless of their needs gets a warm welcome and positive response. Employees including stewards, ticket office staff and shop staff will receive awareness training.
The initiative is the first of its kind and has been welcomed by the English Football League and Sports Grounds Safety Authority.
The scheme is launched during South Yorkshire Safeguarding week, 9 - 16 July, and has been developed in consultation with parents, carers, children and young people and vulnerable adults along with stewards and officials who regularly attend football matches.
Jane Haywood, Chair of Sheffield’s Safeguarding Board, said: “Sheffield is the place where football started and where everyone counts. Through our safeguarding partnership we are working closely with the clubs, so that people with mental health and other types of additional needs are all equally recognised and responded to in the same way that we have measures in place to safeguard spectators with physical disabilities. We are very proud of our local football clubs who are developing the initiative.”
Councillor Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children and families at Sheffield City Council, said: “It is fantastic to see this innovative project launch in Sheffield.
“We want everyone to be able to access sports venues, and this programme will ensure that all children and young people are able to enjoy this experience.”
Calum Oakenfold, Marketing & Communications Officer (Sheffield & Hallamshire CFA) said"It is great to support such an important initiative that allows everyone the opportunity to experience and enjoy our local professional football. Safeguarding is a huge priority for Sheffield & Hallamshire CFA and the Team Up! Programme is a great way to promote this to individuals and groups that really need support. It is also excellent to see our local professional clubs leading by example and supporting this project to allow it to be a success.”