Local people with learning disabilities turned out in force to the second football fun day of the year. The special event was held at the Zone in Huddersfield and the Mayor of Kirklees Eric Firth performed the official opening.
The event, which was organised by the Trust, was part of Learning Disability Week, which ran from 20th June- 26th June, and included lots of different activities and fun competitions from 5-a-side football matches to penalty shoot outs.
Playing football has both psychological and physical benefits and the event provided an opportunity for people with learning disabilities and/ or complex needs to experience the thrill of the ‘beautiful game’ in a safe environment with activities suited to meet individual needs and interest.
The session ran on two pitches; a general one for those who are more active and the other pitch for more disabled or wheelchair users. Carers were amazed at how well the service users responded as they learnt to join in with some help. With a little creativity even the most disabled person can join in, enjoy themselves and more importantly increase their wellbeing.
The event follows on from the huge success of the last football fun day in March, which sold out.
Football is embedded in British culture and is widely supported at many levels of society. Taking this into account the Trust has developed and promoted a football league (Good Mood League) for service users who have mental health problems. The league has grown and the initiative has received both recognition and funding that has enabled the program to be sustained and delivered in the Yorkshire area through key partnerships. Instrumental to the development was a fun day in which the benefits of a supported league were soon realised in promoting inclusion, physical fitness and friendship- all the prerequisites for good mental health. Understanding the positive impact this has had on people’s lives the key initiators have spurred the Trust on to provide a similar opportunity for people who have learning disabilities.
The Trust’s professional lead nurse for learning disabilities, Nigel McLoughlin, said, "We know that physical activity and social inclusion all make a big difference to wellbeing so this event concentrated on these areas. We want people with learning disabilities who use our services to be able to try something new to enhance their wellbeing. Sport is great at bringing people together and building a sense of community.
"Over 70 service users attended and we were very pleased to see some from our new services in Barnsley. The Mayor was very complimentary of our work and due to the massive interest the team are now looking at developing a sustainable league for the more able players. Service users with more complex needs are also benefiting greatly and some of the carers attending have been quite amazed at how they have responded to the experience."
To find out more about future events contact the inclusion team on email@example.com.