Disability Football sessions

“It makes me smile” – that’s what Keeley says about the Disability Football sessions hosted by Accrington Stanley Community Trust.

The Trust have hosted the Thursday lunch-time five-a-side kickabouts for around eight years.

They can have up to 20 people attending the sessions, usually coming from day care centres to meet up and play football.

Head of Sport at the Community Trust Lee Walsh said: “It’s a weekly session which is open to all, we have been running it for around eight years.

“We now are running it at the hub outdoors on a brand new facility so it’s really good. We have people who come from local day care centres and have individuals who come with parents or carers to join in every week.

“It covers a broad range of disabilities, from people with moderate learning difficulties, people who are visually impaired or those with Down’s syndrome. We always say come and give it a go no matter what your ability and see if it’s for you.

“It’s nice to see the looks on their faces when they have a ball at their foot or in a game. We always end the session with a penalty shoot-out which gets competitive, fighting over who has won! Everyone really gets into it.

“We have a team, Accrington Stanley Disability FC, that competes in the LFA Ability Counts League, we go over to Bolton once a month to play and there are around five teams in the north-west involved.

“We like to think we have a session for everybody at the Community Trust. We are inclusive, and lots of people who come to the Trust sessions are Accrington Stanley fans so it’s nice to see them involved with the club in a different way. “

Keeley, 34, is a relative newcomer to the sessions but looks forward to them: “I feel happy coming here, it makes me smile.”

Javid, 44, has been a regular at these sessions for many years and also supports the Reds: “I like to go and watch Accrington Stanley, they are the best team.”

Mark, 41, admits he loves being between the sticks: “I save a lot of goals, I am a goalkeeper.”