Women’s Euros offer life-changing experiences
Community Integrated Care’s innovative scheme is helping volunteers to live their best possible lives.
People with learning disabilities supported by our charity have been taking part in unique inclusive volunteering experiences during the UEFA Women’s Euros 2022.
Volunteers have attended matches at a range of venues across Yorkshire and the North West. Prior to the games, they took part in cookery and soap-making lessons, teaching them valuable new skills and allowing them to hand out the products that they made to volunteering teams at each of the matches.
Those taking part also attended employability courses and photography and media clubs to develop their confidence ahead of the tournament. The volunteering programme will continue at England’s semi-final clash at Bramall Lane next Tuesday, July 26.
Tony Fretwell, the Women’s Super League Academy Manager for the Football Association, contributed his vast experience to the sessions and believes that they will have a big impact on people’s lives. Fretwell explained: “Community Integrated Care are doing some fantastic work getting some incredible people volunteering.
“It gives a real opportunity for the people involved to take away the glass ceiling and realise that the sky’s the limit – they have been volunteering on a huge national event. It also gives a real opportunity for some direction, so that after the tournament it will sow some seeds of what they might want to do and how the tournament might impact the next step of their lives.”
The volunteers were further inspired by a personal video message from England Lionesses legend Fara Williams, who won a record 172 caps during an 18-year international career.
Fara Williams told them: “I’ve heard all about the projects you’ve been involved with in preparation for the tournament. From the media and photography clubs, to employability courses and soap making, thank you so much for volunteering your time and efforts to make this the best UEFA Women’s Euros yet.”
Community Integrated Care Sports Inclusion Specialist Kurtis Marsh has overseen the projects and believe those taking part have benefited immensely.
Kurtis Marsh explained: “Our inclusive volunteers have had a special experience that has been inspired by the UEFA Women’s Euros 2022. The idea for all of our tournament projects is to help build confidence which will give them the opportunity to develop skills. They could then use those in their match day volunteering roles and in day-to-day life moving forwards.
“Everyone involved in our inclusive volunteering campaign has huge potential. We have had people giving out flapjacks for volunteers, gifting friendship bracelets they’d made to supporters, handing out flags and other Euros 2022 items, and a volunteer on a media team as well.
“They also spent time learning how to make soaps which are being given over to players at the tournament. For many of our volunteers it was their first ever experience at a football match and they loved it, along with meeting lots of different people while they were at the games.
“We’re proud of each and every one of them. This 100 percent enables a more inclusive society, and has given people some direction to use their potential and talent. We have aspirations for all our volunteers to kick on with things in the future, do more volunteering, gain further skills and essentially lead the best lives possible. I know it will be a lasting memory for all of them.”