Today is the EFL's Day of Disabilities, putting the spotlight on the work clubs do in the ever expanding area of disability football.
Northampton Town Football Club proudly engage with around 200 participants each week through a range of disability, Downs Syndrome and inclusion programmes operating across Northamptonshire. The club run six teams who compete both locally and nationally in leagues and tournaments with players ranging from the ages of 5 to 35.
Playing in the Bobi league, the club regularly plays fixtures against other clubs from across the country alongside the weekly coaching sessions that take place on Friday evenings at Moulton College from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.
The club also work to deliver targeted disability sport in schools across the county, working with around 60 children per week, as part of the club's overall reach, which also leads to volunteering opportunities for people with a disability. Coming in January 2019, the club will also be launching an employability skills programme for people with autism, working with Track NN Ltd.
"We are proud to work with a range of partners to positively impact on participants lives developing confidence, self esteem, life skills and improved health," said Phill Smith, the Chief Executive of the Northampton Town Community Trust.
"We have a vibrant, varied and active programme and we make a positive difference to the lives of hundreds of people each week.
"Northampton Town Football Club is so much more than a first team that plays on a Saturday, the breadth and depth of the club's work is certainly highlighted by our multi disability work and the players who take to the field regularly are proud to wear the Northampton Town shirt.
"They represent the club superbly, and we are very proud of the players and staff involved. The multi disability football programme at Northampton Town is a huge success story and something that the whole community of Northampton should be immensely proud of."
For more information on the club’s disability programme, please contact Russell Lewis by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gateway School is a school which caters for pupils who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH).
When Northampton Town Football in the Community work at the school, all pupils are given the opportunity to work with the coaches regardless of ability.
One particular pupil Lionel, who is the focus of this study, plays rugby out of school but enjoys playing most sports including football. Lionel is a hardworking pupil who is keen to do well.
Lionel is a Year 11 pupil who is struggling in some areas of the curriculum. It was agreed that he could come out and help with the coaching sessions for the younger pupils.
He has adapted well into the role of mentor by setting a good example and making sure those around him are encouraged and stay involved in the activities. At the same time he has developed his basic skills and gained a better game understanding when the group are engaged in small sided games.
Lionel has shown a mature attitude and proven himself to be of great help to the Cobblers coaches in keeping the group focussed for as long as possible.
Well done Lionel!