Brentford midfielder Romaine Sawyers joined Kick It Out representative Paul Mortimer in highlighting deaf sport at a primary school in Twickenham yesterday, as part of his role as an ambassador for the organisation. More than 80 pupils from Chase Bridge Primary School took part in an exciting sign language workshop with the country’s only full-time, deaf football coach – Ben Lampert, who works for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. To help raise awareness of disability in sport, pupils also unlocked their creative potential and designed posters that highlight deaf football.
“If a football player or someone of a profession I was interested in came into my school when I was younger; I would have probably listened that little bit more,” Romaine said. “I need to use the platform I have to try and make a difference.”
Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, has received widespread recognition for tackling discrimination within football. Although it was originally launched to eliminate racism from the game, Kick It Out expanded its remit in 1997 to challenge all forms of discrimination – whether based on age, disability, faith, gender, gender reassignment, race or sexual orientation.
“It was great to work with Romaine, who has been our ambassador for several years now,” said Paul Mortimer, who previously worked as a coach at Brentford and is now Professional Players Engagement Manager at Kick It Out. “It was fantastic to educate the Chase Bridge Primary School pupils about Kick It Out and our key messages around diversity and inclusion.
“Brentford’s Community Sports Trust does great work so I am pleased that we teamed up with them to raise awareness around deaf sport – I certainly learnt a lot at Ben’s sign language workshop!”
“Running these events will help educate the next generation and highlight the importance of disability in football,” said Ben Lampert, who was born profoundly deaf. “For me, becoming involved with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust was the turning point in the development of my coaching career. Through the work of Kick It Out and the Trust, we can raise awareness and provide deaf children with the same opportunities I had.”
Brentford FC CST has had a longstanding commitment to disability projects; the Trust engaged with nearly 500 disabled adults and children last year.