Accessible club helps young players enjoy football
Members of the Rockleaze Rangers group for children with physical, sensory or learning disabilities during a session at the University of the West of England Hillside Sports Ground in Frenchay
A FOOTBALL club based at Frenchay is helping young players with physical, sensory or learning disabilities to enjoy playing the game.
Rockleaze Rangers is one of the biggest grassroots clubs in Bristol, running junior teams from under-6 to under-18 and has five senior teams up to Gloucestershire County League level.
Based at the University of the West of England Hillside Sports Ground in Frenchay since last season, the club is now hosting a weekly session for children aged 8-16 with disabilities, between 6.30pm and 7.30pm every Wednesday.
Rockleaze Inclusive Coach Ian Louden said: “In the years before the move to Hillside, a number of the coaches recognised that some children struggled to cope in a 'mainstream' group for a number of different reasons.
“The success of the move to Hillside and the fantastic facilities available there led the club to look into the possibility of providing football opportunities for children who found it difficult to fit into the club's regular training groups.
“With help from Jason Lee at the Gloucestershire Football Association and Kris Taverner / Ian Blundell at Bristol Bears Community Sport, Rockleaze took over responsibility for a small existing group for children with a physical, sensory or learning difficulty that was being run by Bristol Bears.”
The group has a coaching team of two Rockleaze coaches plus two UWE students.
Ian said: “The sessions are about providing a fun and supportive social environment for the children and giving them a sense of 'belonging' within the club. The children in the group love the facilities (a 4G pitch and proper goals) and the sociability of the group.”
The group currently has around 12 regular players, aged from around 10 to 15, mostly from North and East Bristol, although some come from as far away as Portishead to take part.
The club has space and resources to grow the size of the group and provide more boys and girls with the chance to play and have fun.
Any child from 8 to 16 years old with a physical, sensory or learning difficulty is welcome to come along to the Wednesday session.
For more information, contact Ian Louden by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.