Albion in the Community (AITC) has launched a new fundraising campaign to coincide with the Seagulls home game with Norwich City.
AITC is the largest provider of disability football opportunities in the area and runs more than 35 regular football sessions for people living with a disability.
Those sessions are attended by hundreds of people of all ages and the charity also runs a number of teams that compete both regionally and nationally.
Brighton & Hove Albion Powerchair FC, for example, recently enjoyed their best-ever season – finishing fifth in the country’s top division – and AITC also runs a cerebral palsy team, an amputee team, a second powerchair team and a deaf team – all of which compete in regional or national competitions against teams from all over England.
That means plenty of travelling and occasional overnight stays and as a result the charity’s specialist mini bus, which was generously funded by the Robert Eaton Memorial Fund, is always in demand.
AITC has therefore launched its Get us to the Match campaign with the aim of collecting enough money to lease a second wheelchair accessible mini bus for the next three seasons.
That will cost around £30,000 but the good news for AITC and its players is that a generous long-term supporter of the charity has offered to match every pound raised by the campaign – leaving AITC with a £15,000 fundraising target.
Paul Brackley, AITC’s disability manager, said he hoped as many fans as possible would back the campaign.
He said. “Having a second mini bus would mean more players from our disability sessions could take part in matches and tournaments and get the chance to represent Brighton & Hove Albion.”
Any new mini bus would also be used during the week to transport AITC’s specialist equipment to and from the many schools, colleges and businesses that it currently delivers disability awareness workshops and training to.
And, in an effort to help more of the Albion’s disabled supporters attend the Seagulls’ away games, AITC plans on making the bus available for away travel when not being used by the charity’s teams.
Anyone wants to donate to AITC’s Get us to the Match campaign can do so online at: Get us to the Match.