East Region Para Football & Respite Development
A story by Glenrothes Strollers Community Club
Our Project developed new para-football sessions within grassroots clubs in the east of Scotland to give the opportunity for young people with disabilities to take part in regular physical activity benefiting their health, improve social skill and create friendships.
What East Region Para Football & Respite Development did
Our project ran throughout the East of Scotland in Perth and Kinross, Fife, Tayside and Angus to increase the number of regular para-football sessions taking place on a weekly and fortnightly basis to 20. Providing fun active groups to young people with disabilities in their own area.
During the programme we: worked with community groups, schools and charities to identify areas for new para-football groups. Ran weekly or fortnightly groups to provide regular activity for children and respite for carers. Ran holiday camps during school holidays to provide out of term time respite for carers. Organised football festivals and events that provided extended periods of activity for children and increased hours of respite for carers. Helped groups to become self-sufficient and sustainable.
Building on the success of the previous project we were able to increase the number of groups taking part in our organised festivals therefore increasing the number of participants taking part and the hours of respite provided for carers. Each team was able to host at least one festival at their own venue allowing members of their community to be part the festivals and engage with young people with disabilities in their area.
The hosts of each festival put on refreshments for travelling teams afterwards allowing for more social interaction between the children away from football and in a friendly and welcoming environment. This also increased the respite provided for carers whilst the festivals were taking place, enabling them to complete other tasks and activities they other wise might have not been able to do.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak two festivals scheduled for March 2020 had to be postponed. These festivals will be rescheduled for when it is safe to do so.
What Glenrothes Strollers Community Club has learned
Working in partnership with other groups, clubs or charities is key for creating a sustainable group that can meet the needs of the local community. Finding key partners has been vital to our success in increasing the number of para-football groups in the region.
Dealing with the unexpected events due to COVID-19 has meant that plans have had to be cancelled. Good communication with other parties helped to quickly adjust to the postponement of all footballing activity so that no group was unaware of cancellations.
Engaging with new families and providing information about groups to those that are unaware is often a challenge that occurs in this project. Running successful activities and publicising events helps to reach people who may have been unaware of a group they could benefit from.
How Glenrothes Strollers Community Club has benefitted from the funding
Funding from better breaks has allowed us to continue to expand para-football into more communities within our region and created the opportunities for more children and young people with disabilities to participate in football. Creating new groups and sustaining ongoing groups help children to maintain physical exercise and expose them to new people and possible friendships whilst providing respite for carers. It has allowed us to be able to give these young players experiences they may never have been able to have through trips to local premiership teams, to matches and playing in the half time break on the pitch that the players they support have played on, Large festivals which have a competitive edge to then and learning that its not all about winning but that we can learn from losing also. Our club continues to maintain a high reputation in para-football within our region and nationally.
Providing regular footballing activity for young people under 20 every week/fortnight. To help both physical and social development through regular participation in sport and interaction with others. Festivals and events will help to make new friendships and improve social skills
We managed to achieve success for our aims in outcome 1, however due to the COVID-19 outbreak we had to cancel to scheduled festivals meaning our target of 10 at the start of the project was short by two. We were able to provide regular weekly or fortnightly para-football sessions for children in their own communities, giving them the opportunity to play football in their local area should they choose to do so. Children were able to increase their physical and mental development through participation in a team sport and improve their social skills in these fun environments.
Ms M from Glenrothes My son, C, has never been that interested in playing sports or doing physical exercise, so we were a bit reluctant to get him involved initially. After a few weeks of coming along he was making new friends and meeting people outside of his school classes. He has particularly enjoyed the festivals and playing against other teams with his teammates.
Growing the numbers of young people that we help improve their health through regular physical activity, helping children and young people to remain active. Giving more carers more opportunities to enjoy their lives outside of a caring role through regular respite hours
Children have benefited both physically and mentally through regular participation in sport and remaining active. Being part of a team and team environment has also given children the opportunity to improve their social skills, confidence, independence and make new friendships. Carers wellbeing has also benefited from regular respite giving them the opportunity to enjoy life outside their caring role.
Mr H from Glenrothes We both enjoy the football, my son, M, loves taking part and playing with his friends. He’d always struggled playing with others at school but since he’s joined the Strollers he has found a group where he can do well and have fun. He loves his kit and showing it off to others. I enjoy watching him play and also have time to kick a ball about with his brother while M trains.
Regular respite hours providing for carers and parents. An increase in the hours of respite provided for parents and carers
Through maintaining ongoing groups and establishing new groups we were able to achieve this outcome. Organised regular activity provided structured consistent respite for carers. Carers were also given extended periods of respite while children were participating at festivals or events.
Ms L form Dundee Whilst my son is playing football with his friends, I am able to go and do the food shop for our family, this is much easier to do knowing that he is somewhere safe and having fun. Having this time allows me to concentrate on what I need to do and not worry about other things.
Increasing the number of regular opportunities for respite hours for carers. Also increasing engagement of carers with other carers in similar situations. (Peer support).
Hours of respite available to carers has been increased by more ongoing para-football sessions and festivals. Carers have the opportunity to interact with other carers whilst their child is taking part in group activities. Regular feedback with community clubs is helping carers feel supported by the club and other carers.
Mrs S from Perth When my son is playing football, I get the chance to visit my mum and have a catch up at her house. Sometimes she comes along to football and we watch L play, it’s great to see him enjoying himself and make new friends has really helped to bring him out his shell.
Additional project outcome
Work with clubs to provide support links between clubs so that players can transition easily from youth to adult football as they age.
Several players have been able to transitions between different age group sessions as they have aged, allowing them to continue to participate in football as they have grown older. Mr S from Dunfermline D has always loved playing football and was thrilled when he found out about the team at Glenrothes Strollers. He started off in the junior group, but he’s now moved onto the older team as he’s gotten older. It’s been a good challenge for him and has kept him improving.