In the past junior disability football has mainly been played through the school system across the county with Cumberland FA supporting the delivery of sessions and competitions.
Now with a number of FA Charter Standard Clubs on board, the opportunity for young people with disabilities to play regular football in a structured events programme has become the reality!
The events programme consists of fun group games, friendly matches as well as ability banded matches to cater for children from age 6 to 16. The venues are spread across the county (Penrith, Carlisle, Whitehaven & Workington) giving plenty of chances for local children to get involved.
The programme gets underway this Sunday at Whitehaven Sports Centre!
Ray Sempill (Football Development Officer – Leagues & Disability) commented “This season is the start of another very exciting year for disability football in Cumberland. For the first time ever, we have 5 clubs with affiliated junior disability teams, all with a qualified, passionate, experienced coach leading them. A lot of hard work has gone into promoting their sessions and developing great environments for inclusive football sessions.
We are very excited to start the programme in November and we hope that the fantastic grassroots community in Cumberland will help us spread the word to people who might be interested in getting involved”
Carlisle Reivers JFC, Penrith JFC, Whitehaven AFC, Workington Diamonds, Gillford Park and CUFC Community Trust offer weekly sessions to youngsters with a PAN disability. The Clubs are run by qualified, committed and passionate coaches, where new players are always welcome.
VIEW MORE DETAILS OF SESSIONS
PAN disability football is for anyone who meets the eligibility criteria. Click HERE to view the eligibility criteria
Over the past few seasons, each club has grown to provide opportunities for 10+ players and are now in a position to be able to offer opportunities to meet new friends and add an element of competition to those players keen to play matches. The events programme has been timed to support the existing Clubs as they are ready. Any potential new Clubs and individuals can also get involved in the friendly format.
The existing centres played together at our annual FA Charter Standard Festival at Penrith earlier this year in June and had a fantastic time!
So far this project has helped children enjoy a social environment where they can play football at a level they feel comfortable.
This project has provided children with disabilities the opportunity to join a relaxed football session to learn skills, make friends and have fun.
As a County FA we cannot put into words how delighted we are that the Club PAN Disability Project is growing from strength to strength.....but when we get this type of feedback from Clubs (below), we don't need the words.......
"For that 1 hour a week Charlie can be comfortable and be himself doing what he loves among a brilliant bunch of people"
"I never thought my child would be able to be part of a football team because of the challenges that he faced everyday. The Super Diamonds team have given him an outlet, friends, new skills but not only that his Mum has made new friends and has the emotional support from all the other parents and coaches. This team is invaluable."
"For my little boy to be included like he is in such a fabulous group is just amazing and I can't thank the coaches and volunteers enough for their support. The Super Diamonds are one big family ♥♥"
"We have looked for years and gone to different disability groups and after the 1st session our daughter would never go back and have major melt downs. She looks forward to every Wednesday and loves being part of the team!! It's given Caitlan more confidence and she sees that there are other kids with the same and different disabilities; for a long time Caitlan thought she was the only 1 because there was noone in her school with the same disability!!"
"With guidance, hope and encouragement Nicky has achieved more than he believed he was capable of."
Here's some more feedback on the PAN disability project:
Andy Rush (Workington Diamonds) commented ‘Our new venture with our pan disability has brought so much fun into our diamonds family and our weekly sessions are priceless’
Paul Allen (Carlisle Reivers) on being involved ‘I'm chuffed to bits and proud as punch to be a part of this fantastic endeavour for youths in our county.’
Chris Kolek (Penrith JFC) “This year has seen a step change in the opportunities available locally for children and young people of all abilities to play football. We’re proud to be part of it and the kids are loving it!”
VIEW THE EVENTS PROGRAMME
If you would like more information on disability football, or if you would like to get involved as a player, volunteer please get in touch with Ray.Sempill@CumberlandFA.com or 01900 511800