It’s a perfect Friday evening, children and parents have started filtering onto the pitch as the coaches prepare FC for their weekly Down syndrome football session.
Solihull Moors Foundation, a charity making positive pathways through the power of sport, were awarded £5,000 from the Solihull Wellbeing & Recovery Fund to safely deliver football sessions for children and young people with learning disabilities.
Phil Miller, Coach at Solihull Moors Foundation, beamed:
“Friday night we have the Downs project, which is great, it’s with littluns aged between four and eight, we have a senior group that come later.
“It just keeps me going, coming here on a Friday night after a stressful day at work is fantastic. I bring my enjoyment into delivering the project, I’m employed to coach but quite honestly I’d do it voluntary because I just love it.”
Seven-year-old James is enjoying himself kicking a football around with the coaches and his friend Juliet. We caught up with his dad, Wayne:
“He loves it, it’s not just the football though, it’s the interaction. He’s got a lot better with the other kids as well. I used to take him to a different class but it wasn’t set up for children with disabilities, Downs children don’t take instructions very well so these sessions are a lot better as they’re less structured.
“When they started to do these sessions here it was like a breath of fresh air because they can play football but it’s in a fun and interactive way, they do other coordination stuff as well.
“It was really difficult during lockdown with home-schooling because James would just get bored, when I tell him we have football tonight he just gets so excited and he chooses what kit he wants to wear!”
Sally, James’ Mum added:
“Kids like James can’t go to the afterschool clubs so it gets a bit painful really, so the fact that we’ve got this, with a huge pitch, is amazing and it’s tailored for them so it’s just perfect.
“He’s good at sport, if he ends up taking part in the Paralympics I’ll be happy with that! It’s lovely for the parents to have a catch up, we don’t have to get involved because the coaches have it handled.”
Read more case studies from our Annual Review 2020/21 here.