East Region Para Football and Respite Development Project
A story by Glenrothes Strollers
Our project delivered regular footballing activity for young people with disabilities from Glenrothes and the surrounding areas. Giving the opportunity for regular participation in sport which benefitted their health and wellbeing and providing increased respite for parents and carers.
What East Region Para Football and Respite Development Project did
Operating from our home pitches at Overstenton Park and nearby sports facilities we ran weekly football groups for people with disabilities to come along and take part in. During the pandemic we moved our group online with online football and exercise videos as well as weekly groups for participants taking place using zoom.
Initially our project aimed to continue and build upon our current football group, offering footballing activities on a weekly basis with regular festival participation at a centralised venue every 6 to 8 weeks. However due to the Covid-19 pandemic we had to adapt our project and move from physical face to face sessions to online activities. We were having to constantly adapt and alter what we were able to provide due to changes in the world and guidelines imposed upon us.
When able to provide in person activity we were able to deliver weekly football sessions in Glenrothes. Due to guidelines for football training we had to limit the numbers who could attend at one time, meaning our groups ran with smaller numbers than previously. We adapted to this by running extra groups to ensure that no participants would miss out. Whilst our regularly activity was taking place carers were provided with respite to use however they choose to do so, whether it be shopping or relaxing at home. Due to guidelines at the time carers could not remain at the groups unless absolutely necessary.
When we were unable to meet in person, we provided online activities for participants to do. We created short football skills and exercise videos for participants to practice at home. We provided equipment to those who did not have it to allow them to take part and continue to enjoy football. Using zoom we were able to host weekly group get togethers online. This helped our group members to see and chat with each other. A benefit of our project is the social aspect of bringing young people together in a team environment so having group video sessions was a particular success as participants got to reconnect with each other in that team environment.
What Glenrothes Strollers has learned
Dealing with unexpected events has been a big learning experience for us and how we adapt to continue to deliver our project. The unforeseen events of Covid-19 resulted in big changes to the delivery of our project for an extended period of time. We were able to adapt and overcome the challenges we faced by engaging with participants and their families to identify their needs at the time and how we could shape the project to continue to deliver content.
We have been able to continue to engage with new families who were unaware of our project to make them aware of the activities we provide. This can often be a difficult task and recent events have made this more so but by promoting what we have been doing we have been able to reach a new audience.
Working with other partners has always been key to helping sustain our group and meet the needs of those who come along to us. We are able to spread our reach by working with others to help meet common goals to create more activity in our local community.
How Glenrothes Strollers has benefitted from the funding
Continued funding from Better Breaks has helped us to maintain our ongoing groups and deliver a high quality project for children and young people with disabilities. We have been able to continue to improve our skills in delivering the project because of the grant we received. We have been able to ensure that any child in our local community who wants to play football can do so and that respite will be provided to allow carers time for activities away from caring.
Weekly/fortnightly regular activity will allow children and young people the opportunity to regularly take part in the football activity that they enjoy. Being part of a team environment will help to improve social skills and make new friends. Allow anyone to play football in the local community.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic we were able to regularly deliver activities for young people with disabilities to take part in. When we were able, we provided in person football activities that helped children stay physically active and learning new skills whilst improving motor functions. They were able to join in to become part of a team and make new friends. We had to adapt our project when moving into a digital environment but were still able to create a social environment for participants to see and speak to each other and enjoy each other’s company. We provided regular different activities to keep participants stimulated and involved for any disabled young person to be involved with.
L struggled social before lockdown and was becoming increasingly lonely due to not being at school and not seeing other children. He had been kicking a ball about in the garden with his dad to stay active. When I heard about the group at the Strollers, I thought it would be good to get him involved. He enjoyed being able to see and talk to other kids about football on zoom and liked joining in the online football training. Since the training has restarted, he has loved it and looks forward to playing every week. His sister is now interested in starting because he talks about how much he enjoys it.
Improved wellbeing for children and young people through taking part in regular physical activity. Carers enjoying their lives outside of a caring role due to increased opportunities for respite. Helping children to make long lasting friendships from meeting others through taking part in football
We were able to provide regular activity to help keep children and young people with disabilities active and interacting with others socially in a group environment. This helped to improve both their physical and mental wellbeing. Carers were provided with regular weekly respite allowing them free time to do so with however they wished. Carers wellbeing improved through the respite provided giving them time away from their caring role.
My son D loves to play football, he’s happy when his with his friends playing football. I’m happy he enjoys himself and I feel comfortable knowing he’s in a safe environment. I get some time to myself to relax.
Carers will have time to themselves when the players are at group sessions being monitored by the post holder. Regular scheduled respite for carers to plan and use outside of their caring role. Increased hours of respite provided.
Regular scheduled respite was provided by the project for carers whilst activity for young people was provided. Carers were able to plan ahead knowing they had a period away from their caring role. Time that could be spent however they chose.
When my boys are at football I know I have some time to myself and can plan ahead for then. I often go out walking with my friends whilst the football is on and its good to get a catch up and relax whilst the boys do their own thing.
Helping carers to meet and interact with other carers in similar situations and share experiences and information. Increased hours of respite for carers.
Through continuing on-going activity, we have been able to provide regular respite for parents and carers to spend time away from a caring role. However, we have been unable to provide increased hours of respite due to festivals being cancelled during the pandemic. These festivals help to provide extended periods of respite but due to travel restrictions and guidelines they could not take place. Helping carers to meet with each other was also not possible due activities being cancelled and guidelines imposed.
When my grandson is playing football, I get to spend time with my wife. S is always on the go so football has been great for him because he can focus his energy into it. When S is at football, we have time to go for a walk without having to be concerned about his welfare. We then feel refreshed for once he is finished football.
Additional project outcome
Provide the opportunity for volunteers and coaches to take part in workshops to help improve the delivery of groups for young people and children. Due to the pandemic workshops had to move online.
Coach A I actually quite enjoyed the workshop being online. Due to not being able to take activities in the usual way I was worried about becoming rusty and forgetting a few things. Taking part in online workshops helped to keep me up to date and I learned plenty new things too. Things that can be added in to the activities that are delivered moving forward.