On Saturday 17 July, Wiltshire FA’s facility Green Lane Playing Fields will host a Disability Football Tournament organised by South West Cerebral Palsy (SWCP) Football Club.
The tournament has attracted 24 senior teams and 8 junior U16 teams from various parts of the country including Wiltshire, Surrey, Dorset, Hertfordshire and more.
Lyndon Taylor, Football Development Officer at Wiltshire FA said, “I am thrilled we have been able to support this Disability Football Tournament. Covid-19 has had a big impact on disabled people and individuals with long term health conditions, restricting them from taking part in their usual activities, which has resulted in a fall in disability football participation rates.
“We know people are keen to return to the game, so this tournament is a significant event as we emerge from the pandemic, offering an opportunity to unite the teams again after a long and difficult time.”
Organised by SWCP, the tournament caters for all disabilities with some teams, like SWCP and St Albans City Deaf Football Club, being impairment specific and many of the other teams being pan disability.
Julie Bowler, Chair of SWCP and Para Football Talent Consultant for the FA said, “We are looking forward to the tournament this weekend. It’s the biggest festival we have organised, and it is so rewarding to be able to offer inclusive football opportunities again.
“We want the players to be able to return to the game safely and confidently and start experiencing the health benefits of disability football again as well as the social connections and mental wellbeing.”
Affiliated to Wiltshire FA, SWCP is a self-funded small club attracting players from across the whole of the South West region, with some players on the England Cerebral Palsy Pathway.
Julie Bowler, continued, “The future is looking bright. The Disability Football Festival is our first celebration event since the pandemic, and we do have hopes to continue the celebrations next year by taking the team to the first CP Champions League in Barcelona.”
Decorated with purple ribbons, there will be four trophies awarded on Saturday - Seniors League 1, Seniors League 2, Seniors League 3 and Juniors U16 - all in memory of Libby Smith.
Libby, a student from Crowdys Hill School, is one of three players that have sadly passed away over the past few seasons. The club will always remember Oliver McGowan, Ciaron McCandless and Libby Smith.
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