Leopards may never change their spots, but footballers Swindon Leopards have changed their name and their strip, thanks to sponsorship support from social enterprise SEQOL.
The players, who all have learning disabilities and compete in the Championship of Dorset and Wilts Ability Counts League, have changed their name to Swindon SEQOL FC. And the sponsorship is one of two pieces of good news for the players this season – the team has also been nominated as inclusive team of the year by Swindon & Wiltshire Sport.
Team coach Terry Yeomans, who is also an employment coordinator and job coach in SEQOL’s supported employment service, had the bright idea to approach his employer when the Leopards needed funds for kit and training equipment.
SEQOL chief executive Heather Mitchell said that as a social enterprise and provider of social care and supported employment in Swindon it made perfect sense to offer the team support.
“This is a win-win for all concerned,” said Heather.
“Football offers learning opportunities that can be transferrred to other areas of life, such as turning up on time, cooperating with others, working as a team, self-discipline, communicating well and respecting others. We know that Swindon employers look for these soft skills when recruiting, and this is a key factor in our employment support programme.
“But team sports are also fun, a great way of keeping fit and healthy, and a way of meeting and socialising with like-minded people. SEQOL are very supporting this local team who are showing how positive and inclusive sport can be, and we’ll be cheering them on.”
Terry Yeomans said the team were delighted with the support from SEQOL.
“It’s great to have the support of SEQOL,” said Terry.
“The lads in the team have the opportunity to play competitive football and have a successful track record, and I’ve seen individuals really grow in confidence since they joined. They all support each other and have become good mates, and they are really delighted with their new-look strips.”
The team trains at Croft Sport Centre in Old Town between 8pm and 9pm on Wednesdays. For more information on playing for Swindon SEQOL FC, contact Terry Yeomans on 07881 281825.