Football school determined to provide North Herts young people with cerebral palsy the chance to play
- Credit: Archant
An independent football school is determined to provide opportunities for young people with cerebral palsy desperate to take part in the sport.
Grassroots is putting on an open day with parent-led organisation FairFooty for youngsters aged between three and 18 with cerebral palsy to try a taster session at St Christopher School in Letchworth tomorrow.
The school offers the sport for both able-bodied and disabled young kids, does not tolerate bullying and believes ‘students have an equal right to play and learn without the pressure of winning’.
Hitchin mum Helen Ruggles has found that 10-year-old son Ross – who attends Preston Primary School – gets little chance to play because of his cerebral palsy.
Helen said: “I have campaigned for two years to find somewhere for Ross to play, and it has been like banging my head against a brick wall.
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“This is about young people with cerebral palsy being given the opportunity to play football, and for parents feeling they have options to explore.
“Many coaches think it is too dangerous for people with the condition to play football.
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“My only sadness is that I didn’t take him to Grassroots earlier, the team there are absolutely fantastic.
“Ross is extremely good – he got three goals the other week and he’s a mad Arsenal fan.
“Being from Hitchin, his favourite player is Jack Wilshere, but he has been told many times at games that he looks like Tomas Rosicky!”
FairFooty co-founder Andy Millington, whose 15-year-old son Owen also has cerebral palsy, said: “There was nowhere for Owen to play when he was growing up.
“Many of the coaches favour quicker and stronger players – there’s a win at all costs attitude at youth level.
“The main thing about the cerebral palsy football project in Hertfordshire is increasing awareness in the area, because there isn’t much football down here for those with the condition.
“We want more people to get involved.
“Owen’s confidence went through the roof when he started at the age of six or seven.
“The headteacher at St Christopher, Richard Palmer, has been really supportive of the project which is great.
“It is the early stages at the moment, but the main thing is getting kids’ confidence up and giving them something they can look forward to.”
The session will take place from 2pm until 4pm and costs £3 per player. To get involved, email the organiser, Paul Deller, via firstname.lastname@example.org.