The Northampton Town Community Trust engage with over 100 participants every week through their disability and inclusion programmes.
The Community Trust operates a range of disability and inclusion programmes across Northamptonshire, working with partners aiming to develop confidence, self-esteem, life skills and improved health in order to positively impact participants’ lives.
Disability Development Officer Russell Lewis believes the Community Trust is able to provide unique opportunities for those with disabilities.
“The aim of our disability and inclusion programmes is to give opportunities to players with a disability to attend a football session where they feel comfortable, enjoy what they’re doing and can meet other players,” he said.
“There are opportunities to play as a team and score goals against other teams, as well as to play at Sixfields Stadium.
“There they are able to celebrate like their Cobblers role models and create memories that last for a long time.”
Lewis made 132 appearances as a Cobblers defender between 1983 and 1986, scoring six goals.
He has been working for the Community Trust for over 25 years, and this commitment was recognised on the opening day of the 2022-23 season when the PFA presented him with an outstanding achievement award.
“Having the opportunity to work with people with various disabilities for all these years has been a privilege for me,” he added.
“If I have helped individuals or groups by giving them something to focus on, even just a little, then I’m happy with that.”
Examples of the disability and inclusion programmes the Community Trust operates are Down’s syndrome football and pan-disability holiday courses.
Football coaching sessions for children and adults aged six and over with Down’s syndrome take place on Sundays at Goals Northampton.
Pan-disability holiday courses held at a number of venues across the county offer fun, interactive coaching sessions for children aged 5 to 16.