New football club gets great response from aspiring players
Petroc and Barnstaple Football Club are working in partnership with Devon County FA to offer a disability football team, the first of its kind in the North Devon area.
They meet every Wednesday at 5.45pm at Park School’s astro pitch and the club is open to players of all ages and ability, from Petroc and elsewhere.
Kevin Hazell, Head of the School of Health, Fitness and Supported Learning at Petroc, has been instrumental in getting the project off the ground.
He said: “This is something we’ve been keen to do for a while.
“Finding a partner as great as Barnstaple Football Club, who have the same goal, was a great step forward, enabling this project to get up and running.
“Ultimately, the club is for fun. However, by participating in a team activity the members will learn about the importance of exercise and what they can achieve through hard work and dedication.
“We’d love to develop a disability academy here at Petroc to encompass all areas of sport and would be more than happy to discuss ideas with potential partners,” said Kevin.
David Carpenter has also been involved in setting up the club, using his expertise as Disability Football Development Officer for the Devon County FA.
He said: “Creating partnerships between FE Colleges and local football clubs have been key to increasing opportunities in parts of Devon for disabled footballers.
“We are committed to increasing the number of football opportunities available and the number of players with disabilities in the game.”
Maggie Birchmore, the secretary for the youth teams at Barnstaple Football Club, has big plans for the future.
“In September we hope the team will play in a football league and play competitive matches, which I’m sure they will enjoy.
“Football is for all and everyone should be equal. That's why we wanted a disability team,” she explained.
The club has had a fantastic response so far and already has 16 members, ranging from age 16 to 52.
According to Kevin, the players arrived an hour early to the first session, because they were so keen to get playing.
“It’s awesome to be part of something so ambitious,” said Community Link student Matthew Bustin.
“We all get on so well and have a laugh each week. We have a good team spirit,” he added.
Ashley Chivers, described by his teammates as the ‘star goal keeper’, says he’s noticed a change in his level of fitness since joining.
“I’ve definitely improved my stamina and feel much fitter now,” he said.
“We’re aiming high – we’ll win trophies one day, I know it!,” enthused Seb Bell.
Anyone interested in joining the club is invited to attend on a Wednesday evening or call Kevin Hazell on 07800764100 for more information.
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