Everton in the Community’s annual Disability Awards returned last Tuesday evening as the ceremony looked back on another successful year for nine of the charity’s disability teams, bringing players and their families together for a night of celebration and inspiration.
Held at the Isla Gladstone Conservatory, host Darren Griffiths opened proceedings with a minute’s applause to celebrate the life of Everton Football Club’s late Chairman Bill Kenwright CBE, which was followed by a tribute from the charity’s Chief Executive, Sue Gregory before she congratulated the teams on their successes.
Club Ambassadors Ian Snodin and Graham Stuart presented both the Players’ Player of the Year and Manager’s Player of the Year Award to selected winners from each of the nine teams in attendance and handed out medals to every individual player in recognition of their outstanding achievements over the past 12 months.
The ceremony saw players from Archbishop Beck Under-13s, Archbishop Beck and Woodchurch’s Under-16s, Everton’s Amputee team, Down Syndrome team and four pan-disability male and female teams welcomed onto the stage, where they all had the opportunity to proudly pose with their new honours whilst their coaches spoke in detail about their team’s individual and collective achievements.
The awards culminated in closing remarks from EitC’s Disability Manager Steve Johnson as he thanked all the players and their friends and families for their continued support.
Reflecting on the ceremony, he said:
“Our annual Disability Awards is the highlight of the year for our participants and gives us the opportunity to truly celebrate their achievements both on and off the pitch. Our disability programme has grown from just two teams back in 2002 to 12 teams today, with us supporting more than 130 disabled children and adults with pathways into football each year across Merseyside.
“We pride ourselves on providing disabled communities with these competitive opportunities and this evening’s celebration marks that. We only hope to expand the programme and our teams even further come the next awards ceremony.”
Everton in the Community has been delivering its disability programme since 2000 and works in 14 special schools delivering physical activity opportunities to over 650 disabled children a year. Funded by the Premier League and the PFA, the charity’s disability programme empowers disabled people into taking an active part in everyday mainstream society.
To find out more about the charity’s disability programme, visit: https://www.evertoninthecommunity.org/projects/sport/disability/