Foundation Team Working with Children

Providing Opportunities for Children and Adults with Disabilities.

Working with Disability Groups
Since establishing the Foundation as a registered charity we have committed ourselves to supporting disability groups within the Bath & North East Somerset area. Since September 2012 we have worked with teachers and children at the Three-Ways Special School, Bath. The school caters for children who have a wide range of learning and physical disabilities. The one thing we have found out about the children is their extreme fondness for football. Our first visits were to take part in the secondary schools assembly. We took two Bath City players – Charlie Griffin and Aaron Brown with us, they talked to the children about their experiences as players. Since the initial visit we have regularly worked with the children at the school.

BISPAA – Group
B&NES Inclusive Sport and Physical Activity Association FC – BISPAA FC for short; together with Somerset FA to front up the local BISPAA Football Group. We readily agreed and will help to support their development and growth. They hold regular tournaments and hope to receive some welcome coaching from our Community Sports Development team.

Blind Football
The Foundation enjoys a very strong partnership with Bath University and many of their sports students work with us as football coaches and some referee matches. During November, 2012, a pair of Business Administration students, Steve Jackson and James Smith, worked with children in years 7-9 at Ralph Allen School, Bath. They recruited Darren Harrison, a Paralympian, who played for the Brtish team in the London Paralympics, to bring about awareness of the difficulties experienced by blind people within the community. They worked with children during the morning PE lessons to simulate the experience of playing for a blind team. Research shows that as many as 40% of blind children haven’t got anyone to play with and it is only through games such as Blind Football that many can enjoy the pleasures of being part of a team.

As we are now developing a working partnership with disability groups we are beginning to benefit more from the support provided by B&NES Sport & Active Lifestyles group, Somerset FA, Connections Day Services, Options For Living, etc. As it is the Foundations intention to develop adult disability football within the area we hope to apply to become affiliated to the B&NES Inclusive Sport & Physical Activity Association Team ( BISPAA) before next season. Natalie Candy, is our adviser for this area of our commitment.

Threeways School
Over the past two weeks we have had the pleasure of working at Three-Ways School. The school caters for children who have a wide range of learning and physical disabilities. The one thing we found out about the children was their extreme fondness for football. Our first visit was to take part in the secondary schools assembly; and then, the following day, we took part in the Junior School assembly. Both occasions were really uplifting and enjoyable. We took Charlie Griffin with us on our first visit, this was just three days after he had scored two beautiful goals in Bath City’s 3-2 triumph over Farnborough. Fran Wild, also attended. They both talked to the children about their experiences as players – Fran plays in goal for Bath University Women’s first team. As part of the fun Fran offered to play in goal and try to stop shots from volunteers. They quickly proved that they have some really good spot kickers in the school and Fran had a quite a few balls to pick out of the back of the net during the short penalty taking session.

Keepy Uppy Challenge!

Charlie was then challenged to demonstrate how long he could keep the ball off the ground in a ‘keepy-uppy’ contest. He did a creditable forty times using his head, shoulders and feet before catching the ball – the youngsters gave him a rousing applause. Charlie then asked if he had a challenger, surprisingly enough quite a few hands went up. A lad from the school team then stepped up and showed us all how good he was, he was good, as he did just over twenty, but it was not quite good enough to beat Charlie. It was a brilliant assembly and Charlie and Fran are looking forward to working with the children out on the pitch next time. The next day Aaron Brown and Fran Wild took part in the primary assembly, again it proved to be a really happy and fun occasion – lots of musical games and whole group involvement. Fran once again played goalie to young sharp-shooters and Aaron took up the ‘keepy-uppy’ challenge – he got to forty before, he too, caught the ball. It is obviously a challenge between the two players that will be renewed again sometime in the future, but there are also a few pupils with an eye on the record too!

Aaron Brown