DSI and Celtic FC Foundation officially launch the Ability Counts Ireland programme

The official launch of the long-anticipated Ability Counts project in Dublin took place today, Monday. In partnership with Down Syndrome Ireland, Celtic FC Foundation has taken their award-winning model beyond the UK for the first time, supporting young people and adults living with the condition in Ireland.

The launch of this project represents another milestone for Celtic FC Foundation’s #LionsLegacy campaign. Following a range of fundraising events honouring the 50th anniversary of Celtic’s 1967 European Cup victory, the #LionsLegacy campaign saw an incredible £2million raised to support projects across the UK and beyond.

Celtic FC Foundation has also received support from various Celtic Supporters’ Clubs in Ireland, who have generously contributed to the project’s growth and expansion.

Ability Counts has been operating in Scotland since 2010 and uses the power of dance, football and multisports to engage with children and young people with Down syndrome. The project includes weekly coaching sessions, diet and nutrition advice, team and confidence-building activities.

Workforce development is extremely important, and as such, all Celtic FC Foundation staff have received specialist training from Down’s Syndrome Scotland prior to the commencement of the project. As partners, Down Syndrome Ireland, will also deliver ongoing awareness training to ensure all staff possess an understanding of participants’ needs.

On the launch of Ability Counts Ireland, Gary Owens, Down Syndrome Ireland CEO, said: “We are delighted to partner with Celtic FC Foundation to bring their Ability Counts programme to Ireland.

“The programme has been very successful in Glasgow and provides a great framework for social integration while delivering tailored programs to get our members physically active.

“We look forward to working with Celtic FC Foundation and Sport Ireland to extend the program to other regions throughout the country.”

Celtic FC Foundation Chief Executive, Tony Hamilton, added: “It’s great to get to see this being delivered in Dublin and to work in partnership with Down Syndrome Ireland.

“Our plan is to develop Ability Counts further in Ireland and the work in Dublin is the perfect start for that. Thanks to all of our supporters and those who helped us through the #LionsLegacy initiative for making this and so many other things possible.”

If you would like to find out more about the programme, you can email Annette on annette@downsyndrome.ie.