Zurich in Switzerland was the latest European city to host the globe-trotting Saints Ability project, the Saints Foundation’s dedicated pan disability programme.
Following their previous trip to Barcelona, eight participants with a variety of special needs headed to the Swiss capital on a five-day trip, culminating with them playing in an International tournament for young people with disabilities.
Among their competitors were Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, all of whom sent their own disability teams. Organised by Football Is More, the aim of the tournament was to help teach respect and fair play, as well as greater life skills.
Saints Ability Coach Gary Loveridge summarised the trip: “They’re [the participants] getting an amazing amount of experience not just the football, but learning how to cope being away from home, in a different environment which doesn’t necessarily suit them”.
The Saints Ability project delivers a coaching programme for over 150 young people and adults with disabilities. Beyond football itself the project supports a wide range of social objectives, from widening social circles and building new long term friendships, to increasing self-esteem and confidence.
David Lofthouse senior whose son David was part of the Zurich trip described the impact of the Saints Ability project, “The Saints Foundation and the Saints Ability programme offers an opportunity that would never have existed otherwise”.
The project is part funded by the Premier League and by the generosity of Saints fans and the wider community who donate through a range of fundraising initiatives, without whom the project wouldn’t exist.
Click here to view the Zurich experience on Saints Foundation's YouTube channel.
For further information on the work to the Saints Foundation visit www.saintsfoundation.co.uk