BT Volunteers play their part in School Festival

Palace for Life Foundation held a School Showcase Festival at Marjorie McClure School in Bromley on 28 March, for Junior Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) schools that the Foundation had been delivering weekly football sessions in. The event saw almost 40 SEND children identified as being inactive get the opportunity to show off the skills they had learnt over the duration of the 6-week course, and then play small-sided football matches with their friends and children from other schools they had met on the day.

Group shot of all the children at the Festival with their hands in the air

The fast-paced, lively event was fantastically supported by a group of volunteers from BT. This initiative is a major part of the Premier League/BT Disability Fund that helps the Foundation engage with some of the most hard-to-reach areas in the community.

Rory Shephard, BT’s Openreach Bid Solution Manager, said:

“The children were clearly demonstrating the qualities from the programme such as teamwork and giving new things a go. I don’t think I saw any of them who weren’t having a great time. I also found your Palace coordinators and the older pupils from the other school who were helping out to be very friendly and positive.”

One of the BT volunteers helping at the event

John De’Giovanni, Group Market Intelligence Senior Manager at BT, also shared his thoughts on the day:

“I was happy to help out and it was a very enjoyable experience, as the children really seemed to have fun, and were all very enthusiastic. I’d certainly recommend it to other people thinking of helping out, even if their days of sporting prowess are behind them, all they need is a bit of common sense. Given the event had to switch to indoors at short notice given the awful weather, it all ran pretty smoothly.”

BT Volunteers and Palace for Life staff alongside Chris the Eagle

The Foundation’s Disability Manager Michael Harrington, who oversees the Foundation’s Premier League/BT Disability-funded Inclusive Eagles programme, summed up what he thought the volunteers bring to events like this:

“These fantastic events are a pleasure to be part of but can be very demanding on manpower, so for the Foundation to have the opportunity to call on BT staff at times like these to offer us first class volunteers is vital to allow us to continue the work we do that helps so many people who otherwise may not have access to these types of opportunities.”