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Euro’s Inclusive Volunteering® shortlisted!

Whilst the Lionesses were inspiring the nation at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament, their heroics also encouraged people who access social care to follow their dreams off the field too in a ground-breaking Inclusive Volunteering® Programme at the event.

This pioneering programme has been announced this week as a being shortlisted as the Best Innovation at the prestigious Great British Care Awards, whilst new evaluation has shown that it transformed the lives of people who experience significant barriers in their daily lives.

Community Integrated Care partnered with the tournament team behind UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 to create a special programme that enabled more than 100 people who access care and support to develop new skills and passions, through special projects inspired by the tournament and volunteering at the event. Spanning every tournament locality and working with people who have a range of disabilities – such as learning disabilities, autism, mental health concerns and acquired brain injuries, the programme brought excitement and hope to many lives.

Our charity used its specialist Inclusive Volunteering® Team to design a series of life-changing programmes inspired by the tournament. From an employability club that enabled people to develop workplace skills inspired by the routines of the Lionesses, to professional cookery programmes that built independent living skills, and even soap making lessons that gave people who have profound and multiple learning disabilities the chance to volunteer by creating soap for the tournament teams, this was a uniquely impactful and innovative programme.

It proved that major events can include people who often have complex challenges in their lives and create opportunity for all. From enabling a person who has sight loss and a learning disability to fulfil his dream of becoming a sports reporter, through to a EURO 2022 garden being created at care service for people who were physically unable to attend the event, countless barriers were overcome to change lives.

New evaluation has proved that this has had a profound impact, which is being felt long after the tournament. An unprecedented figure of 100% of volunteers stated that the programme has increased their confidence, whilst 94% of people believe it has enabled them to become more independent. Importantly, every volunteer has also expressed that they had fun and wish to build on this experience in the future.

In recognition of this success, the programme has been shortlisted as one of the best innovations in the care sector at the prestigious Great British Care Awards, which are supported by the Department of Health and Social Care. This programme was generously supported by Sport England, as well as funding from Community Integrated Care.

John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, says:

“What happened off the pitch at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 with our volunteers was every bit as remarkable as the heroics on it. The Inclusive Volunteering® Partnership between Community Integrated Care and the FA truly changed lives, enabling people to fulfil their dreams and find new passions and talents.

The impact that this new programme evaluation has highlighted is remarkable, given the challenges that many of our volunteers face in their daily lives. Our charity exists to enable people to live the Best Life Possible, and seeing people grow in confidence, independence and skills as a result of being part of an iconic event is a true representation of that. We would like to thank the tournament organisers, Sport England and the FA’s Recruitment and Volunteer Team for their support of this programme. We hope to continue to build upon this success in the future.”

Susan Couper, Senior Recruitment and Volunteer Manager for UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, said:

“We were delighted to work with Community Integrated Care on this first-of-its-kind football project.

“The partnership developed vocational skills and furthered the independence of all those involved, through meaningful opportunities and innovative programmes.

“This summer’s UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 was one of the most-inclusive, accessible major events to take place in England. The volunteering programme enabled people to live out their dreams on the international stage and play starring roles at venues, enhancing their talents, confidence, and social connections.”

“It created moments in time that will live long in the memory of the volunteers, our team, and fans.”

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