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Foundation staff receive Disability Awareness training

Palace for Life Foundation staff came together at Selhurst Park for their first Disability Awareness training day to ensure that all areas of the Foundation remain open and accessible to all.

The training, requested by members of staff, was led by Enhance the UK – a charity run by people with disability who aim to change the way disability is viewed and make sure those with disabilities are active and equal members of society. During the day, their goals were to build confidence and remove any of the embarrassment Foundation staff may have felt when interacting with disabled people. Palace for Life’s Disability Manager Michael Harrington, who arranged the training, said:

“Having worked within disability sport for a number of years now I understand how difficult it can be for those with, and those without, a disability to communicate with each other in a natural way. Having had much experience at this, I still found this training made me at times question my approach to meeting and working with disabled people.

“I also found it very encouraging for us as an organisation to see so many of our staff members so passionate about being able and willing to help often marginalised members of our community.”

Claire Holland, Head of Training at Enhance the UK, was impressed with the application of Foundation staff:

“Enhance the UK are delighted that the Palace for Life Foundation are taking inclusion so seriously. During the sessions, the staff were very engaged and really willing to learn. As trainers, it was a really enjoyable session to run and we hope that as a result, staff have more confidence interacting with people with different impairments.”

Palace for Life’s Business Support Officer, Zaynab Osman, explained what she gained from the training:

“I found the Disability Awareness training really insightful. The facilitators were engaging, funny, and were able to create an open and interactive environment which encouraged a free and respectful forum for discussion.

“Being able to receive such vital and sensitive information in such detail is beneficial because it means that every one of us, be it office/coaching staff, is now more confident, informed and able to provide services and support to everyone who comes into contact with the Foundation.”

Sessional coach Robert Fordjour agreed:

“I thought that the training was challenging and thought-provoking. It rightly took us out of our comfort zone and helped me to see people with disability as they are. It was a great experience to hear them tell us how they want to be viewed and valued.”

The next stage of the training is scheduled to take place later in the year, where the focus will be on helping the coaching staff to adapt their sessions universally to allow for more inclusivity. There will also be further insight into the use of correct terminology and the social model of disability, including adjustments for disabled staff.

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