An annual Deaf Football Festival for secondary school pupils today saw a group of aspiring young coaches take a step towards achieving coaching qualifications.

Now in their fifth year, the Deaf Football Festivals offer a structured environment for deaf children to enjoy football with their peers.

Today’s Festival for secondary pupils in the South West Region, held at Toryglen Regional Football Centre, saw participants in the Cashback for Communities Volunteer Inspire Project (VIP) receive unique experience in coaching deaf children.

As part of their training, the VIPs were taught basic sign language frequently used in football and given advice on areas such as positioning and communication when coaching deaf children.

Each year VIP recruits 180 participants aged between 16 and 24 from schools, community groups, clubs and existing youth development projects and places them in an individually developed learning pathway, including coaching courses, administration skills, physiotherapy and governance skills, among others.

John Brown, Scottish FA Regional Manager for the South West region, said: “This is the fifth year we have run Deaf Football Festivals in the South West Region and they have proven to be invaluable for the children.

“Many of these children attend mainstream schools where they are often one of only a handful of deaf children, so these festivals let them enjoy physical activity in an environment catering for that specific disability.

“The festivals run annually, but a number of clubs have set up Deaf Football sections stemming from their popularity, which provides regular activity or children that previously would not have frequently engaged in sport.

“It was fantastic to see the VIP participants use the Festival to progress their pathway to a coaching qualification and I’m sure the children took a lot from the dedicated coaching.”