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Woody Welcomes

  • Writer's pictureNatalie O'Rourke

Woody Welcomes Manchester City

Woody and I can hardly believe it is the last game of the season on Sunday.  What an amazing season for our beloved Bees and especially for Woody who has met some truly incredible people as we well as presenting Thomas Frank with some lovely gifts during their regular fist bumping at the conclusion of each game. 

Whatever will we do during the summer break from the Premier League?  I am sure we can think of something... 

It is our absolute honour to be hosting the league Champions, Manchester City for this final game. We had hoped to be integral to deciding the Premier League winners, but City sowed it up last week with a win over Chelsea.   The sound of Blue Moon being sung loud and proud during the end of match celebrations was truly something to behold. 

So, let’s take a final look at what our last competitors at the Gtech do for inclusion within their community. 

The charitable arm of Man City is called ‘City In The Community’ and they are a well-established organisation, beginning in 1986, they use football to support positive healthy lifestyles, inspire the future for those taking part and bridge the gap for those most disadvantaged in their community.   

So, the first thing Woody and I loved is the partnership between City In The Community (CITC) and car company, Nissan.  Last year Nissan donated funds to the charity for CITC topurchase eight powerchairs.  These chairs can be used for the weekly Powerchair Football sessions and allow an enhanced level of skill whilst playing – dribbling, shooting and full engagement in fast paced matches.   

The Powerchairs were donated as part of Nissans ‘Possibilities Project’ which aims to provide opportunities for individuals who are underrepresented in their communities, specifically those with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community.  

Last year on 3rd December the CITC marked International Day of Person’s with Disability by inviting City player Joao Cancelo to come and visit a Pan Disability session.  These sessions allow people with a disability to enjoy sport and get involved regardless of their ability. Cancelo spoke to the participants about what they enjoyed about the session and why they came along.  There was also an opportunity for those attending to have a photograph taken with Cancelo.   

Woody and I love a sensory room and Man City have a great one for their young fans, which allows them to enjoy the match day experience without feeling overwhelmed.  The entire journey through the visit to the Etihad Stadium is managed to ensure maximum comfort for the fans involved. They are met by a member of the Access Team and taken to the sensory room, but before that even happens the visiting fan can view an online video which details what the journey from the car park to the room involves  Fans can watch the match from inside the sensory room or they can sit behind soundproof glass inside the stadium bowl... How amazing is that?   

Man City run a weekly Down Syndrome Football team session and it is not unheard of for the one and only Pep Guardiola to pop into the City Training Ground to watch training and chat to the team.  The team is part of the One City disability programme.  This programme offers free sporting sessions to individuals with various disabilities. The sessions are run for children outside of school hours and across the community. 

Finally, Woody and I loved hearing about how Jack Grealish surprised a young fan by visiting him during a tournament. Man City super fan Finlay had written to Jack asking him if he was a good big brother to his sister.  Finlay has cerebral palsy, as does Jack’s sister Holly. Jack loved the letter from Finlay so much he wrote back and even sent a signed City shirt.  But that wasn’t enough, and Jack wanted to meet one of his biggest fans.  Finlay was so happy to meet Jack and between them they came up with what celebration Jack would use during the celebration of the next goal he scored – The Worm.  

Woody will be welcoming huge Man City fan, Dan. We can't wait to meet him!

So... there it is.  Our last review of the visiting team's community inclusion activities.  We have absolutely loved sharing this blog with you all this season.  Thank you for taking the time to read and share our experiences.   

Just one thing left to say – COME ON THE BEES!!! 


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May 28, 2023

A great season, I think everyone would agree - for the Premier League, for the other divisions - bad luck Coventry but great to see a little club like Luton get their chance in the top flight and great to see Bolton Wanderers pick up some silverware and great for football in general? Yes, but no - a great season for Woody Welcomes is what I mean.

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