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An evening with the Fulham Foundation’s junior Pan DisAbility club

Written by Macsen Morgan on 25th June 2024

The Fulham FC Foundation do a lot of work for the community, and one of the many things they do is run a weekly session for those who live with disabilities, whether they’re visible or invisible, to allow them to enjoy the game that we all love so much no matter what challenges they face in everyday life 

A few weeks ago, on a windy weekday evening, I took myself down to the Stephen Wiltshire

Centre, at the back of my old primary school, Queen’s Manor, to watch a game of football. Not far from Craven Cottage I settled in to watch my friend and primary school classmate, Sam, show off.

His skills were on show at the Foundation’s weekly junior Pan DisAbility club – a club where young people can come together to enjoy the beautiful game. The enthusiastic coaches, Huck and Archie, started the session off with traditional passing and dribbling drills, before moving onto highly entertaining and enjoyable games. It was fast and furious, and after everyone lost track of the score we were treated to a festival of penalties – a mix of panenkas, rockets and the celebrations of World Cup winners.

It was incredible to see how each player tailored their style to their own unique abilities. Leo, amazingly quick on his crutches, pulled off some great turns to get past the others; Cassie in goal kept people on their toes with awesome shot-stoppers; Sam was fond of playing more physically and wasn’t shy of committing to a hard challenge. Not all disabilities are visible, but what was clear was that everyone was having a great time.

Living close to the Cottage I’ve always known that Fulham is a community club, but I didn’t realise the extent of the work that the Foundation does. On days when fans are protesting about ticket prices and results aren’t always going in our favour, it helps me to view FFC in a different, more positive, way.

Some of the parents explained the impact of the sessions for their children. 

“Each of these kids sees themselves as different from everyone else, but at this club they see everyone in the same light, playing the game they all love together”. 

“It’s great for them and it helps bring out a healthy competitive spirit”. 

“He gets to play the sport he loves with others who have struggles like he does”.

They also said “It would be great to see more people at these sessions”. So, the more the merrier: if you know someone who might love it, contact Katy Shepherd, DisAbility Development Manager at the Fulham FC Foundation ([email protected]). It’s open to any young person from five  to 16 years of any ability. You can find more information here.

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