THE Charity Awards, which announces its shortlist today, is the charity world’s most prestigious excellence recognition programme and Celtic FC Foundation’s Ability Counts project in partnership with Down’s Syndrome Scotland has been shortlisted under the Disability category, making it to the final three.
All shortlisted projects have scored highly against the 10 Hallmarks of Excellence, as decided by the 10-strong judging panel of voluntary sector experts across a variety of fields.
Celtic FC Foundation and Down’s Syndrome Scotland met in 2010 to discuss joint working, and both partners quickly realised that they shared similar values and goals and agreed to design a project together, which would benefit children and young people living with Down’s syndrome.
This would engage within the heart of the community, offering those with Down’s Syndrome an opportunity to develop motor skills, ball skills, team-working and to play football and in a fun but challenging environment.
The Ability Counts Project launched in February, 2011 and was the first of its kind in Scotland and has now grown from strength to strength.
In addition to the weekly football coaching, we have now introduced a successful dance element, and last year Ability Counts was the main benefactor of Celtic FC Foundation’s Sporting Dinner, which raised enough funds to secure another two-years’ of delivery.
As a club open to all since its formation in 1888, Celtic promotes inclusion and diversity through its charitable arm. The Ability Counts project has been a perfect way to celebrate diversity and promote friendship between the children and young people involved, through a common goal and interest.
Tony Hamilton, CEO of Celtic FC Foundation, said: “I’m delighted that we have been shortlisted alongside some fantastic national charities who add real value in their respective communities.
“Ability Counts is our own project and one which we are enormously proud of. This latest recognition is testimony to the commitment shown every week by the staff of both Down’s Syndrome Scotland and Celtic FC Foundation. Thanks must also go to the club who facilitate us in this and every other project we deliver.
“We have shown positive outcomes with the children and young people with Down’s Syndrome that we work with over these past four years and we’re hoping that our Autism and Disabled Sports projects will in time prove to be just as beneficial for those people who we are trying to engage.”
The 10 category winners, plus the recipients of the Overall Award for Excellence and the Outstanding Achievement Award, will be announced at a dinner in June in London.
The black-tie evening will be hosted by world cup winning rugby star, Will Greenwood who will be joined by representatives of the shortlisted charities, alongside a ‘who’s who’ of charity leaders and celebrities from the worlds of theatre, television, music and sport.
Tania Mason, group editor at Civil Society Media which organises The Charity Awards, congratulated Celtic FC Foundation on making the highly-coveted shortlist.
She said: “We had an almost record number of entries this year – just four fewer than our all-time high in 2011 – and the standard was excellent, so Celtic FC Foundation should be very proud to have made the shortlist.
“For 16 years The Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities make it through.
“We wish Celtic FC Foundation all the very best of luck on the night.”