Our first ever Football Fun Day took place in Dundee recently, where any individual with an Autism Spectrum Disorder could come along and enjoy some safe and friendly football.
The Scottish FA East Region & Glenrothes Strollers CFC teamed up with the National Autistic Society to enhance the current disability football provision in the East Region that is heavily supported by Shared Care Scotland.
The event held at Manhattan Works in Dundee gave the participants the opportunity to train, play or just watch the football being played. The taster session also gave parents and carers the chance to watch while the participants played or they could relax and have a chat with a free coffee.
Many of the parents and carers had a shared view that if football sessions specifically for individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder became a regular thing, they would jump at the chance for their child to be involved.
Susan, mum of Katie, said: “She loves her football. She doesn’t want to get involved in music groups because she has a noise intolerance but sessions such as this are great for her because she can just kick a ball about and she loves it.”
Frank, dad of Lex, said: “Quite a lot of his friends from his school would all come along to this so he would love if this was regular. Quite often in the mixed sessions with kids without autism, he feels like he is different so this is great.”
Martin, dad of Cameron, said: “He’s loving it because he is being interactive with others and he is able to do what he loves to do. He has a lot of energy so things like this are great to allow him to release some of it.”
Vickie Sutherland of NAS was absolutely delighted with how the day unfolded and was very impressed by the treatment from the coaches to the participants.
Vickie said: “There isn’t enough things like this in Dundee. The feedback we have got back from parents is superb and they are so keen to get more sessions up and running for their kids.
“The coaches must have autism awareness and that is clearly visible. It is great to see them so understanding and keen to teach the kids how to play football.”
Kevin Lee, Scottish FA East Regional Manager, hailed the event a success; “This event has been fantastic and in particular the collaborative approach taken by all partners. This event would not be possible without the dedicated support from Shared Care Scotland while having an organisation such as National Autistic Society supporting such an event provides us with a wealth of knowledge for this specialised programme. Furthermore, there is a great need to work closely with the players and their cares to ensure we are meeting their individual needs.”
Organiser, Logan McConachie, spoke at the ASD Football Fun Day: “Today has been a great day for disability football in Dundee. We have proven that there is a real appetite for disability football in the East region through our current football provision and Dundee has emphasised this with over 40 attendees at the ASD Football Fun Day.
"Without the support of our partners, creating football opportunities for all across the East Region would have merely been a dream of ours and we are grateful for the continued support from Shared Care Scotland and the Scottish FA East Region. We will be working closely with NAS Dundee to give individuals with ASD the opportunity to take part in regular footballing activity in an environment that allows for each individual to reach their full potential.”
Due to the demand of interest from parents and carers, there will be a second Football Fun Day on Saturday 11th July, 12pm-2pm. Once again, participants will be given the opportunity to try out football in a relaxed, calm environment. Anyone interested in attending is encouraged to contact Logan:
M: 07802730673 E: firstname.lastname@example.org.