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Woody Welcomes

  • Writer's pictureNatalie O'Rourke

Woody welcomes Everton

We'd like to thank everyone for their response to the first "Woody Welcomes..." we've had such a lovely reaction to it, with even ITV News wanting to come and meet Woody.

Woody welcomes Everton this week. Everton in the Community (EitC) - the Blue's official charity - is considered one of the Premier League's leading community schemes due to the quality and reach of its various activities. They're currently building a huge new facility right across the road from their Goodison Park stadium which is going to be called The People's Place, it's a purpose built mental health and wellbeing hub which will be the first of its kind associated with a PL Club - it looks hugely impressive!

EitC run many projects in their community, and we really like...

DSActive Team

Woody is particularly excited about this because Everton have a Downs Syndrome team (just wait until we get onto his beloved Penguins later in the year!).

The team are part of the Down's Syndrome Association's DSActive programme which aims to encourage sports and activities for people with Down's Syndrome around the country.

Everton's team was set up in 2014 and train together once a week. Last season they competed in their first national tournament and reached the final of the National Cup and EitC is currently developing a league to offer the team regular competitive matches. The DSActive team is just one of 13 disability sides run by EitC which we also love, and their disability football programme provides dozens of football opportunities for disabled adults and children, engaging with over 200 adults each week and over 400 disabled children and young people each year.

We love this footage of Everton first teamers joining the DSActive team to celebrate National Down's Syndrome Day a couple of years ago. You can see the palpable joy the team get from playing football with their heroes - this is what football can do!

Read more about DSActive here:

Holiday Activities

With the holidays coming to an end this will resonate with many parents of disabled children who can often find school holidays present an extra pressure on their time. Through a partnership with a local council EitC run holiday activities for young disabled people in the local area.

The activities help reduce social isolation for disabled young people allowing them leisure opportunities and social interaction with both disabled and non-disabled peers. Activities are very varied and are chosen by the young people themselves and have included trips to Chester Zoo, Blackpool Lights, trampolining laser quest and many more.

Off The Ball

This was something launched earlier this year by EitC and is something that has really touched us as it concerns a group of people who are often not thought about at all, the carers.

We know with Woody, and with other work we do at a Riding For Disabled Stables, how important carers are in the lives of the people they help look after, but also how exhausting and mentally and physically draining it can be. The Off The Ball project brings carers from different generations together, enabling them to 'take their foot off the ball" from their caring role for just a little while and to focus on themselves. The programme will provide health and wellbeing support as well as much needed respite activities to help carers feel more aided in their roles.

Carers taking part will also be given the opportunity to learn new horticulture skills and will take part in the series of therapeutic respite and wellbeing activities in the outdoors. Carer and cared-for activities will also be offered to enable both the carers and those being cared for, to take part in constructive activities together.

When Woody made the news last year, some lovely people at Everton were among the first to reach out to us and they very kindly invited Woody to visit Goodison Park. For various reasons we couldn't make it but are going to try and make the trip this season.

Welcome Everton. x

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