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Friday 17 May 2024
NOW provides specialist training for Irish FA

The Irish Football Association has joined forces with leading social enterprise NOW Group to provide its staff with specialist training to help support diversity and inclusion throughout the organisation.

Several members of staff, including coaches and development officers who work in schools and local communities, completed neurodiversity awareness training which explored possible barriers to participation in football, and practical ways to remove them.

The collaboration is another step on the association’s journey towards becoming a fully inclusive organisation, accessible to all, including those with neurodiverse conditions or communication difficulties.

Irish FA Disability Access Officer Jason Browning said: “Sport plays an important role in bringing people together, so it is crucial that we ensure it is as accessible and inclusive as possible.

“Partnering with NOW Group is the next step in that process for us. We are committed to creating an environment where people feel welcome, where they can flourish and where football is for all, so we hope to roll this neurodiversity training out to all of our staff in future.”

NOW Group is an award-winning social enterprise which supports people with learning difficulties, autism and other neurodiverse conditions into jobs with a future.

Their dedicated teams deliver a range of services including training, employment, family support and social groups, as well as the innovative JAM Card initiative, which allows people with a hidden disability like autism or communication barrier tell others they need 'Just A Minute' discreetly.

Cheryl Ball, Training Development Manager at NOW Group, facilitates the training.

She said: “It is so important that businesses and organisations with the status and influence like the Irish FA lead the way when it comes to accessibility, diversity and inclusion.

“Promoting these key values at all levels is what makes an organisation great, and one that is considerate and welcoming to everyone. We look forward to working with the rest of the team in the near future, and seeing the impact this work will have on all those who support, work or play for the Irish FA.”

For more information on the work of NOW Group, visit

Image: Matthew Gray (NOW ambassador), Jason Browning (Irish FA), Cheryl Ball (NOW Group) and Iain Van Maaren (NOW ambassador) announce the partnership.