East Inclusion Football Group
A story by Glenrothes Strollers
We enhanced and created footballing and social opportunities for young people and adults with multiple additional support needs from Tayside & Fife.
We engaged with over 280 individuals by creating and developing self-sustainable disability football teams to provided respite for their carers in the Scottish FA East Region.
What East Inclusion Football Group did
Logan McConnachie resigned in August 2016. We advertised his position on our Facebook page and website, but also on the Scottish Football Association website.
We replaced him with Nick Keiller in October 2016. Nick was aware of this project as he had been volunteering with a group that we had set up in Perth.
Then in October 2016 Alan Roberts resigned to take up a full time role elsewhere. We advertised in the same places again and found Barrie Christie. Barrie was volunteering with Glenrothes Strollers and was already aware of our project. Barrie joined us in December 2016.
We have grown and developed fun football activities for young people with a range of disabilities or additional support needs, at 9 community clubs across the region. To achieve this, our staff have organised and run football coaching sessions directly, while training and developing volunteers at these community clubs.
Providing breaks for carers, these coaching sessions are typically for 1 or 2 hours. Providing only a little respite for carers. The feedback from carers is that this short time is very helpful, allowing them to visit friends, do their weekly grocery shopping or just have some time to themselves. Once per month, we have several of these groups taking football teams to participate in competitions. This involves bus trips to Glasgow or Edinburgh and is a whole day away for the young people to have an amazing fun time with their friends. But as a result, it gives their carers a whole day of respite.
I have had carers tell me that they use this break to spend quality time with their other children. Improving relationships within the family and enhancing their own well being. There have been 8 of these full day sessions in the term of this project.
In January 2017 Stephen met Barry Christie (football coach at Glenrothes Strollers Superstars) at an AD sports club session at Michael Woods centre. Barry told him to come to the Strollers. He was too scared to go, so I went with him and stayed for the whole session. By the end he was so excited and never stopped talking about it.
Since then he has went nearly every Saturday for 2 hours and every month he goes away for the whole day to play in a football competition.
Now, I take my daughter Karen to see my sister and her cousin every Saturday morning. Sometimes we go to the shops, but mostly we just relax and chat and have fun. When Stephen goes away for the whole day, me and my daughter spend the whole day together and always make sure we go out for the whole afternoon together. This is just amazing, after only a few months, all of us have had our lives changed.
There is no fighting and arguing anymore. My daughter gets on great with me and with her big brother as well.
As you can see he loves the regular sessions and league trips to Glasgow and Edinburgh and being a relative new member the group have welcomed him with open arms. This is the sole aim of the Club to include people and give them the opportunity to express their skills and enter a player or coaching pathway. All combined with playing in a fun and safe environment to encourage social friendship and confidence to take into society.
“Thank you for organising yesterday’s trip, for the Strollers and our Andy, he had a great day. He was really happy and seeing his joy and contentment with people who he has made friends with at The Strollers has made a real difference to Andy and us as a family.”
Kelda Vannet – Andy Vannet’s Mother.
What Glenrothes Strollers has learnedCapture the ideas of your service users. Through regular carer groups meetings, we have captured feedback on what works and what doesn’t work for them and their children. We cannot presume that we know what’s best. They always have great ideas.
Create an environment where it’s easy for users to give feedback. There are little details around the service that cause them problems that we are unaware of. So an environment where they feel comfortable to speak up is really important. Taking this feedback, we have met the detailed requests for some individuals, and others for the whole group. This has personalised and improved the service for everyone.
Everyone can surprise you, don’t limit people with your own judgement of their capabilities. We have SuperStars learning disabled young people helping to deliver coaching sessions to some of our mainstream younger football teams. The rewards for both parties are amazing.