The Isle of Man Football Association’s (IOMFA) disability programme has been strengthened after receiving a Celton Manx Recognition award.
The Association, in partnership with Special Olympics Isle of Man, runs a training programme for young people with learning difficulties, which has seen players compete in Iceland in 2017 and Gibraltar this year.
At the end of August a six-strong squad, accompanied by a team of coaches, will be representing the Isle of Man at the Special Olympics Small Nations Tournament in San Marino.
IOMFA chief executive officer Frank Stennett said: ‘The Isle of Man Football Association has formulated an overall programme for disability football for 2018 with our partners Special Olympics Isle of Man. The partnership has proved very beneficial in so many ways and one of the major advantages is the wider arena we now have to potentially take part in top quality football tournaments. This allows us to have defined targets and also provides us with the opportunity to really benchmark our progress against our opponents both in the UK and further afield.
‘The Special Olympics Small Nations Tournament, held this year in San Marino, was formerly a tournament we briefly looked at, but any proposal to take part never really progressed, principally due to funding requirements.
‘The Celton Manx Recognition Award, however. kindly granted to us earlier in the year, made this all possible and all our players and the coaching staff are really looking forward to taking part in this prestigious tournament. It is brand-new ground for us and we cannot thank Bill Mummery and all at Celton Manx enough for the exciting opportunity to play in San Marino during the last week in August. The players gain so much from such an experience, and in addition, both the IOMFA and Special Olympics Isle of Man form new relationships right across the sporting world.’
Celton Manx executive director Bill Mummery said: ‘The Isle of Man Football Association’s partnership with Special Olympics Isle of Man is breaking down barriers and making important contributions to sporting inclusivity. The disability football programme is unlocking new and exciting opportunities for players with learning difficulties to realise their potential, develop their skills and engage with their contemporaries in other nations, with the support of a great team of volunteer coaches. For these reasons Celton Manx has been pleased to acknowledge the Association’s work with a Recognition award. I am sure the squad will be worthy ambassadors for the Isle of Man in San Marino and I wish them every success.’
Recognition is the corporate social responsibility programme of Celton Manx.
The scheme aims to recognise and support the island’s lower-profile charities and not-for-profit organisations with only limited resources in order to fund, develop and promote their services.
In 2018 Celton Manx made 25 Recognition awards. Applications for the Recognition programme 2019 will open in November 2018.
Celton Manx executive director Bill Mummery, extreme left, with coaches Mick Curran, second left and Kevin Cowin, extreme right, with some of the players benefiting from the IOMFA’s disability training programme. Photo Matt Mosur