- Created on Thursday, 14 June 2012 15:21
SOUTH DEVON COLLEGE are supporting a new wheelchair football programme, beginning with an awareness day and taster session on Friday 15 June from 7 – 8pm.
The programme is based at Parkfield Youth Centre in Paignton, and involves six weekly training sessions leading up to an exhibition match at the centre on Friday 3rd August.
The initiative was inspired by lifelong wheelchair user and football fan, Aaron Schembri, who expressed a real interest in sport despite being paralysed from the waist down. Arran applied to the Torbay Opportunity Fund For Youth (TOFFY) for funding to get the wheelchair football programme initiated and -with help from Torbay Youth Service and ROC Active – he was successful, receiving £2,000 funding towards the project.
Since then the project has received contributions from the Red Cross (supplying the chairs), Devon FA (providing disability coaching courses and support), Torquay United (with strong links to football in the community) and various other willing organisations. Former South Devon College student Aaron contacted his old College via ROC Active, and met with Head Coach of the College Football Academy - former Torquay United captain Alex Watson. The College are supporting the event with both equipment and football academy students, as College Sports Development Apprentice Nayim Abusag, coordinator of the College’s involvement, explains:
“Aaron was really happy that everyone is so keen to get involved and is really excited about the event,” said Nayim, “Our football academy students are all taking their FA Coaching Awards and jumped at the chance to volunteer to lead coaching sessions. It’s a truly inspirational project and we all can’t wait to get started.”
Training sessions are scheduled every Friday evening, 7 – 8pm in the Sports Hall at Parkfield Youth Centre in Paignton from 15 June – 27 July, with a celebratory exhibition match marking its completion on August 3. Anyone - able bodied or not - aged 11 – 25 can come and have a go at the taster session, and for those who want to take it further, the goal is to build a permanent team that will tour the South West playing other wheelchair football teams. For more information contact 01803 698 900 or visit www.parkfieldtorbay.co.uk.