Leeds United star takes part in virtual call with disabled students.
Today marks International Day of Disabled Persons, the annual event held to increase awareness, acceptance and understanding of people with a disability as well as celebrating their achievements and contributions in society.
The Leeds United Foundation work with disabled people every week throughout the city, delivering their own programmes and supporting other organisations with some incredible work being done to improve inclusion in sport and provide opportunities for those who live with a disability, both juniors and adults.
First-team star Jack Harrison was on hand to help celebrate the occasion earlier this week, virtually, during an exclusive disability session being delivered to young students at Roger Cannon East Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre (SILC) to discuss the all-important topic of teamwork.
Coaches at the club’s official charity work closely with the East SILC, hosting practical sessions on a regular basis to help keep the young students motivated and improve both their footballing skills and their confidence levels and social skills.
The Leeds United star spent time on a Zoom call chatting to the youngsters who suffer with a range of disabilities and had prepared a number of different questions about what it is like to work in a team at the top level of elite sport, why working in a team is important and what role he thinks he plays in the Leeds United dressing room.
The winger also invited a few special guests on screen to make the day extra special for all of the children, with appearances from Brazilian footballer Raphinha and goalkeeper Illan Meslier – much to the excitement of the pupils, who showed their strength and resilience even though they face more struggles in a day than most of us do in a lifetime.
Jack Harrison spoke to LUTV and said: “I really enjoyed meeting the students, they're an inspiration and being able to learn more about them and the work the Foundation do at the school was great. They were all so happy and asked some really good questions and hopefully I was able to give them a bit of advice that will come in handy.
"It was great to talk to them about the concept of teamwork and the importance of working together, you can't always feel happy, sometimes you can feel down and you need to have your teammates, or classmates, around you to help you in the more difficult situations.”
Anthony Hall, Disability Officer for the Leeds United Foundation added: “It's been great to show our support for International Day of Disabled Persons today, especially being able to have a Leeds United player involved and supporting us really emphasises the work that both the school are doing around the topic of teamwork and the practical sessions we deliver with them.
"Listening to Jack Harrison speak with the kids was brilliant, it just gives the group a real lift and I think today has been really important for them."
The club’s official charity work with a number of East SILC provisions, including John Jamieson, Brigshaw and Temple Moor whilst also delivering several other disability programmes, helping to create opportunities for those with disabilities to take part in competitive sport and develop their skills. Coaches from the Leeds United Foundation disability team host sessions for both junior and adult pan disability football teams, a Cerebral Palsy and framed-user football team and also work closely with a local down syndrome organisation.
For more information on the work being delivered by the disability team at the Leeds United Foundation, please contact Anthony.Hall@leedsunited.com.