A NEW initiative to give disabled people in Hartlepool more opportunities to play football is being launched this weekend.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s sport and recreation service has joined forces with Hartlepool United, the Hartlepool United Disabled Supporters Association (HUDSA), Lifestyle Northeast and Durham County Football Association to stage a series of drop-in disability football sessions.
Keith Nobbs, from Pools’ Football In The Community programme, said: “We have identified a gap in the provision of football opportunities in respect of disabled people and we are pleased to be working in partnership with the other organisations to try to address the issue.
“The sessions will teach participants some basic skills, including helping them with their balance and co-ordination. They will also be able to take part in some small-sided games and we hope the whole experience will enable them to further develop their interest in football, perhaps by joining a club.”
Darran Hutchinson, secretary of HUDSA and a disability day services co-ordinator with the council, said disabled people in Hartlepool currently have to travel as far afield as Newcastle to take part in competitive football matches.
He said: “It would be great if this initiative led to the formation of a locally-based league in which disabled people can compete.”
Daniel Garthwaite, a council sport and physical activity officer, added: “We have an on-going commitment to provide and promote opportunities for all Hartlepool people to play football and we are delighted to be launching this initiative for disabled people in the town.”
The sessions will take place on the all–weather pitch at Grayfields recreation ground, starting tomorrow and will run for six weeks.
A ladies-only session will be held from 11am until noon and this will be followed by a session for men from 12pm to 1pm.
The activity will cost £1 per person, will be led by fully qualified FA coaches, and participants must be aged 16 years and over.
For further information on the scheme and for details of how to get involved, telephone Darran on (01429) 264661 or (01429) 851353 or email firstname.lastname@example.org