Football coaching sessions are a winner

Jamie Wilson, coach for SAFC Community with 12-year-old Roy Graham.
Jamie Wilson, coach for SAFC Community with 12-year-old Roy Graham.
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A FOOTBALL scheme to help young people with Down’s Syndrome has proved a winner.

SAFC Foundation has launched coaching sessions for people, aged five to 25, who have the condition.

The sessions will run every Saturday from 11.30am to 12.30pm at Crowtree Leisure Centre and will give youngsters the chance to develop their footballing skills and abilities while competing in regional and national competitions.

The sessions, supported by DS Active (Down’s Syndrome Association), expand the already substantial range of SAFC Foundation’s disability coaching department which last year worked with 1,400 children.

Parents say it’s a welcome addition to sporting sessions delivered in the city.

Andrea Taylor, from Ryhope, whose son Thomas, six, has Down’s Syndrome, said: “Thomas thoroughly enjoyed the session last week and can’t wait to go again on Saturday. The coaches were enthusiastic, patient and a credit to the SAFC Foundation.

“It also gave us the opportunity as parents to meet and speak with other parents who have a child with Down’s Syndrome.”

County Durham mum Samantha Hill whose son Sam, five, also has the condition, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for all who attended. The event was well organised, all staff were fantastic. They made a huge effort to interact and make all the children feel included and welcome.”

Graham Robinson, SAFC Foundation football development director, said: “At SAFC Foundation we are committed to giving every child the opportunity to enjoy sport, regardless of their personal circumstances and these sessions are another step in helping us achieve that goal.

“The response to the launch has been fantastic and we look forward to developing the sessions even further in the future.”

SAFC Foundation is the pilot club in the North East for the sessions and a taster session held by the foundation earlier this month was the best attended that DS Active has ever had.

l Parents wishing to find out more about the sessions should contact Phil King on 551 5164 or email

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