After several weeks of preparations, the 23rd February 2022 saw the fruits of the commencement of a working partnership set up between the Care Agency and the Gibraltar Football Association.
This partnership will see the introduction of coaches provided by the Gibraltar FA on a weekly basis to assist in the Physical Development sessions of the Care Agency’s Disability Service, St Bernadette’s Resource Centre and Dr Giraldi Home at the Victoria Stadium Sports Hall.
All service users from the Disability Service were in attendance, joining in activities set up by the coaches. The Care Agency team assisted the coaches by engaging all involved in a number of different skills such as shooting, catching, attempting drills, running and most importantly, having fun. A great time was had by all.
'The aim of this partnership programme is to empower the individual to optimise their full potential. By working collaboratively to provide the best possible support to the community, we also improve the understanding of people with learning disabilities. The Gibraltar FA will also look to coach interested carers, introducing them into their newly launched Coach Education Programme.'
The Care Agency thrives on using the Five O’ Brien Accomplishments in their person-centred provision of care for the service users to achieve:
• Community Presence – The right to take part in community life and to live and spend leisure time with other members of the community.
• Relationships – The right to make new friends and have different role models.
• Choice – The right to make choices both large and small in one’s life. Choose what they want to participate in and experience new activities.
• Competence – The right to learn new skills and participate in meaningful activities with whatever assistance is required.
• Respect –The right to feel as a respected member of the community.
In the coming weeks the Care Agency will be delivering specific awareness training to all coaches, considering the different aspects of Inclusion and Diversity, and therefore add another dimension of understanding young people to the coaching skill set.
The Care Agency would like to thank the Gibraltar Football Association for their commitment to bring this partnership together.
GFA General Secretary, Mr Ivan Robba, said: “The Gibraltar FA is delighted to be contributing very practically to the aims and objectives of the Care Agency. We expect this to be one of many initiatives which form part of our football for good strategy. Our coaches are enjoying the interaction with the service users and working with the carers created a great fun environment which we will build on.”
CEO of the Care Agency, Mr Carlos Banderas, said: “I am delighted with the success of this wonderful, inclusive initiative between the Care Agency and the Gibraltar Football Association. Our service users have most certainly had an enjoyable time, learning important skills for their physical and mental well-being. On behalf of the Care Agency, I would like to thank the Gibraltar Football Association for their commitment to this partnership. We look forward to continue developing our working partnership in the future.”
The Minister for Equality and Social Services, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, MP, said: “It is always important to involve the community in projects of this nature and I am grateful to both the GFA and the Care Agency for making this project a reality. The learning experience will be equally positive for all parties involved. Service users will no doubt learn skills from the best coaches available, but the coaches too will learn from the service users and be more aware of individual requirements. This is imperative for raising awareness on the social model of disability that the Government of Gibraltar fully supports.”