Woody Welcomes Burnley FC
Updated: Oct 21
Woody Welcomes – Burnley FC
We are back!
Before we dive into the Premier League we have to give a shout out to Atheltico Bilbao. They kindly invited The Brentford Penguins to play against their Down Syndrome team. It was so amazing to see the two teams communicate despite speaking different languages. They really gave Woody Welcomes a run for our money!
When the Premier League concluded in May of this year, we just knew we wanted to continue with ‘Woody Welcomes’ in some way. So, we decided that Woody could welcome those clubs that had successfully secured promotion from the Championship for the 2023 / 2024 season.
And the first of those teams for Woody to excitedly meet at the Gtech stadium tomorrow – Welcome to Burnley FC.
Burnley Football Club are used to success. One of the founding members of the Football League, the claret and blue of Burnley went on a historic run of 30 league matches unbeaten, a record that remained in place or over 80 years, being brought to a spectacular end during the 2003 / 2004 season by Arsenal. There have been numerous successes at domestic level as well in European competitions.
Let’s start by turning our attention to the charitable organisation Burnley FC in the Community (BFCITC). Whilst BFCITC are financially independent from the football club, raising money through charitable activities and grants, the organisation remains true to the very values that underpin their namesake. Their value statement “Together we inspire, support and deliver, positive change for all” is evident through the number of activities available for all ages – from pre-school to pensioner.
There are over 50 community projects running which aim to embed opportunities for employment and education, as well as welfare and inclusion, and football skills development.
The Limitless Clarets are one such project with the strapline - “Don’t Dis My Ability” - it's clear that BFCITC aim to provide opportunity and accessibility to sport and community inclusion to those with a disability. The project runs for young people aged between 5 – 18-year-old and includes free sensory football, climbing, golf, soft play and multisport sessions, five days a week.
Formally, the ‘Disability Sports Project’ the project was relaunched back in January of this year, following feedback from young people and the Special Olympics Great Britain. The project goes was beyond sport by providing the opportunity to make friendships and be involved in the community. Participants can expect regular newsletters, and visual support such as flashcards and symbols to encourage involvement in the classes.
Woody and I loved reading Lola’s story. Lola began with the Limitless Claret’s by taking dance classes. However, these were quite overwhelming for her and instead switched to the climbing lessons that were available. Since the then the sky has been the limit (or limitless) as Lola has engaged in a wide variety of activities including football, sensory, climbing and dance. Lola’s Mum says she really looks forward to her weekly sessions and is ‘so excited to go’.
We also thought the ‘It’s Your Turf’ programme is a really positive and proactive opportunity to help young people who are struggling with anti-social behaviour, violence or offending. A joint enterprise between the Premier League and BBC Children in Need, the scheme offers one to one mentoring for a period of up to 12 months. Participants cover themes such as Weapons Awareness and Anger Management. The project works to break the cycle of violence and keep young people out of the criminal justice system.
Burnley FC operate a robust match day accessibility policy. Fans can expect convenient drop off points for those who are only able to walk a limited distance, as well as on site disabled parking. Bathroom facilities are provided with 17 accessible toilets as well as a fully equipped Changing Places facility. Match day refreshments are available with an ‘in seat service’ meaning the order is brought directly to the supporter. There are also free match day tickets available for anyone who requires a carer of personal assist with them.
In July of 2021 Turf Moor received recognition from the then, Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, for two new accessible stands. The stands comply with reasonable adjustments for individuals with a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995. The stands aim to provide an inclusive match day experience for all fans who have a disability.
Who can forget Burnley’s most famous fan, Jordan North, appearing on the 2020 series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here? Trapped in a coffin like container, which was filled with critters, Jordan channelled his happy place to get through the challenge - “Turf Moor. Turf Moor! TURF MOOR!” he screamed... Let’s hope that The Bees make sure that Jordan does not find his happy place away from Turf Moor at the Gtech stadium tomorrow afternoon.