Jadey’s inspirational £200,000 fundraising dream

Jadey Yesilada has teamed up with Brighton and Hove Albion to launch Jadey's Dream
Jadey Yesilada has teamed up with Brighton and Hove Albion to launch Jadey's Dream

An inspirational young sports coach with cerebral palsy is on a mission to raise £200,000.

An inspirational young sports coach with cerebral palsy is on a mission to raise £200,000 to help get more disabled people across Sussex involved in sport.

Jadey Yesilada has teamed up with Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club’s charity wing, Albion in the Community (AITC), to launch Jadey’s Dream – a fundraising project with the end goal of doubling the size and reach of AITC’s disability sport programme.

Last year AITC helped over 2,000 disabled people take part in sport but 22-year-old Jadey wants to see that number increase over the coming months.

Jadey, from Portslade, has personally benefited from AITC’s work. He joined one of the charity’s disability sports clubs at the age of six and has since gone on to play for the club’s powerchair football team in the Wheelchair Football Association’s national Premier League.

He completed an 18-month sports coaching apprenticeship with AITC and now coaches on the charity’s disability sports programme and earlier this year Jadey was named Sussex Apprentice of the Year at the Sussex Further Education Awards.

Now he is determined to do all he can to make sure others benefit from AITC’s work in the same way he has.

Recent research by the English Federation of Disabled Sport shows disabled people are less likely to participate in sport than non-disabled people - with only one in six playing sport regularly compared to one in three non-disabled people.

The research also revealed that 71% of disabled people do not participate in any sport whatsoever, compared to 48% of non-disabled people.

Barriers to participation include transportation and access to trained coaches and sports clubs. AITC’s disability sports programme helps to overcome all of these and has a network of 20 disability sports clubs across Sussex. But there is still room for the scheme to grow, and that is where Jadey’s Dream comes in.

Almost £90,000 has been raised during the first six months of the campaign, helped significantly by AITC’s first-ever Brighton to Paris bike ride which took place in June when 56 cyclists rode 130 miles from the Amex to the French capital. It raised tens of thousands of pounds and plans are already afoot to hold similar fundraiser next year – with Jadey determined to take part.

“Yes, that’s definitely the plan,” he said. “For various reasons I wasn’t able to fully take part this year but seeing everyone come together to support the appeal this year has made me even more determined to cycle all the way to Paris next summer.”

Since the success of the sponsored cycle, Jadey has hosted a fundraising powerchair football tournament at the University of Brighton which saw local businesses enter teams and play against AITC’s two powerchair sides to help raise awareness of disability sport and raise money for the appeal.

The next fundraising event is a golf day taking place at Goodwood on October 15 and AITC has also got a string of fundraising challenges lined up for Jadey to take part throughout the season.

As far as Jadey is concerned, the sky is the limit.

Speaking to Brighton and Hove Independent he said: “It has been my dream to give more young disabled people the chance that AITC gave me when I was younger.

“I was lucky enough to get the chance to take part in sport at a young age thanks to AITC and I also wouldn’t have been able to achieve so many other things in my life without them.

“It is my passion to see other young people get the chances I had. I guess this is my way of trying to give something back.”

To donate to Jadey’s Dream and help Jadey and AITC reach their £200,000 target text JADY01 £10 to 70070 or visit www.justgiving.com/JadeysDream.

For more information on AITC and Jadey’s Dream, visit: www.albioninthecommunity.org.uk.