Glenrothes Para-Football Project
A story by Glenrothes Strollers
We provide opportunities for young people with a disability from Fife and surrounding areas to participate in organised football activities. Our project improves both physical and mental health through involvement in sport. Parents and carers are given an opportunity for respite whilst children play.
What Glenrothes Para-Football Project did
Based at our own facilities at Overstenton Park in Glenrothes during the summer months and local sports facilities during the winter we were able to deliver weekly football sessions for children and young people with a disability. We ran three sessions each week providing a variety of opportunities for people to be involved. These sessions ran consistently throughout the year providing a regular source of physical activity for participants and a regular reliable respite for carers. We were able to provide extended periods of respites for carers by attending and hosting football festivals. With regulations relaxing towards the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 we were able to attend national festivals once again. These all-day events involve members of our club playing against other clubs in football matches throughout the day. They are the highlight of being involved with football for many of our participants and they are delighted that we can once again take part.
Being involved in the festivals also means that carers and parents of our members have days of extended respite as well as regular respite from our weekly football sessions. This respite gives them valuable free time to spend however they wish. With the respite provided from our activities carers can do whatever they wish, this may be carrying out other tasks, relaxing or having a chat with other parents or carers about their lives and similar responsibilities.
Starting from 5 years of age our sessions are open to all young people with a disability who would like to be involved. Many of the participants have attended our club for years and have grown up playing football with us. Thus, giving children the platform to have lifelong participation in sport and make last friendships that continue to develop as they grow. We work with other organisations such as active schools and disability sport fife to help attract new participants and help grow our sessions. Word of mouth also helps spread information about the work that we do.
What Glenrothes Strollers has learned
Returning to national events and the hiring of transport that goes with it is a big expense for the club. There were no definitive dates for any return to festivals at the start of the project or how many would be on throughout the year. We had to plan for a variety of scenarios and potential outcomes to make sure we had the finances available to attend. Thankfully with proper planning we were able to attend national events when they returned. Meaning participants could get back to playing football against other teams and parents and carers could get extended periods of respite.
The core section of our para-football project at the club has been delivered consistently for a number of years and we are confident in delivering this. We are now at a stage where game leaders in different sections of para-football have reached out to us about delivering new para-football sessions in the local area. We are confident that we can deliver new sessions to a high standard even if they are somewhat different to the para-football activities we currently provide. From delivering our existing project we have gained confidence in being able to help young people and children with a disability and deliver a project to high standards.
Working with other partners has provided a range of opportunities for us to grow our project and offer more to the children who participate. Through partnership working we have been able to attend new events and meet new people who the children can play against, mix with and socialise with. Working with others has been a great way to grow our project and reach others and it is something we will continue to do.
How Glenrothes Strollers has benefitted from the funding
Better breaks funding helped to ensure the continuation of our project coming through difficult times after covid-19. The funding helped us to continue to run activities that allow any child in our community to come and play football. The funding was key in helping to cement or reputation as a club who delivers projects to a high standard for the benefit of our local community.
Running regular weekly para-football sessions enabling young people to meet and mix with others whilst enjoying themselves in physical activity.
We were able to achieve this outcome by running the weekly football sessions we planned to do. These sessions helped disabled children and young people stay active through regular physical exercise. Being involved in a team environment helps the children to feel involved with others and enhance their social skills. Through participating in football children have the opportunity to make new friends and improve their mental health as well as their physical health.
Mrs L from Glenrothes: "My son is quite a shy boy and doesn’t really come out of his shell too much. He’s used to doing activities with family members but nothing without us. I thought that being involved in football would be a good way to give him some confidence and meet new people. Since starting football I’ve noticed a difference in his attitude and he’s always keen to get to training and be involved with his teammates. Before he would be reluctant to leave my side."
Carers being able to relax and feel they have been able to look after their own wellbeing needs through respite provided by the project.
By providing regular scheduled activities for participants, their parents and carers were able plan activities for themselves and their families ahead of time. Regular scheduled respite helps carers to plan any tasks they may need to do, meet with friends or simply relax and enjoy their lives away from a caring role. Through providing days of extended periods of respite parents and carers had increased hours to themselves to engage in other activities.
Ms K from Glenrothes: "Since my son M has started at football training, I’ve been able to have more time to myself. I’ve been able to do activities with my other son that were a bit more difficult before. It’s been a big help."
Regular opportunities for carers to meet and discuss their caring role with their peers and receive some peer support.
From the respite provided by the footballing activity we delivered carers and parents had the opportunity to meet others in a similar situation. They are then able to share experiences they have, the challenges they face and how they may have overcome any difficulties they’ve had. Helping carers mix helped to make them feel more supported by others.
Mr N: "D has come to football now for a while and he really enjoys himself. I like bringing him along and watching him play as well. It’s also good to get a catch up with the other parents and have a chat about what we’ve been up to."
Increased activity for children to help improve their physical and mental health. Development of new skills to improve their independence and confidence and making new friends. Respite providing carers time away from their caring role to enjoy their lives.
We have achieved this aim through creating a safe, comfortable and enjoyable environment for young people to develop themselves. Taking part in sport with others helps children to improve their social skills and gain confidence in themselves and their abilities. By creating a positive environment, parents and carers are happy to leave children and young people so they themselves can go and enjoy some respite. Being involved in a team sport teaches many social skills and helps children to make new friendships they might otherwise not have made.
Mrs Y from Leven: "My son S has made lots of great friends through football. They’ve started to do things together away from football now which I’m happy to see. He never had too many friends outside of school but now he does. The football gives me plenty free time too, to go to the shops or have a chat with the other parents. Whatever I like really."
Additional project outcome
Opportunities for players to become coaches.
Coach A: "I’ve really enjoyed doing the coaching. I like that I have the chance to become a leader and get some more responsibility. The club has helped me to feel confident and believe in myself through coaching. The younger players look up to me now and I like teaching them new things."