Since its inception in September 2013, Disability Football across Hull and the East Riding has seen a massive increase. Helped with the introduction of the Disability Football Development Fund, it has seen provision and participation increase significantly, helped by the recruitment of a dedicated, full time Disability Football Development Officer.
This increase in provision has now seen over 1000 players with a disability trying football for the first time and the majority of them continuing to play weekly. Having an officer dedicated to the development of disability football it has allowed the County FA to liaise with more organisations, schools, clubs and other local groups to allow more people to hear about the game and have the opportunity to play.
Since September 2013, the programme has engaged with players from local mainstream and special schools, disability organisations, local authority day centres and other local authority departments to name but a few. The programme has also seen the development of disability football with local grassroots clubs as we look to increase the offer provided to include all aspects of the local community. This has seen an increase in the number of teams across the county to over 30 covering both junior and adult disability football.
The programme has also seen the profile increase within the local media as regular newspaper appearances and radio interviews ensure the word continues to spread and disability football is firmly in the minds of people who can benefit from the sport. The programme also received national recognition as the Community Inclusion League was highly commended for the work it does supporting players with a mental health issue and/or learning disabilities.
Disability Football Development Officer, Pete Allison commented on the last two years saying “it has been fantastic to be heavily involved in the fantastic development that has taken place within disability football. The increase in provision and participation goes to show how fantastic the sport is. It is a fantastic feeling to be able to provide opportunities for players to participate and the smiles on faces makes it all worthwhile. In order for this increase in stature, I must thank all those that have helped contribute to the growth and for their continued support”.
Whilst it has been a great two years for disability football across the county it won’t stop here with more exciting opportunities arising over the coming months.
2016 will see the introduction of the new Talent Identification Programme which will allow those players with a disability that demonstrate potential the chance to progress along the disability talent pathway and further enhance their development. We are also working with more clubs and organisations to further enhance the level of provision available and provide more opportunities to play football.
On behalf of everyone at the County FA involved in disability football development, we would like to thank all those clubs, organisations and players who have helped increase the profile of disability football and we look forward to more exciting times in the future.