In setting up a PAN Disability Football group, Ross Juniors FC has been aiming to create opportunities for people with a disability/impairment, who may not ordinarily be able to access a mainstream football environment. Using support networks within schools, the community, care homes and day centres, the club has sought to enable people to access a structured footballing opportunity which is appropriate for them. Although based in Ross on Wye, players have joined us from the Forest of Dean, Ledbury and Newent.With links currently being made with organisations in the Monmouth area the hope is that we will be able to attract more players to the initiative.
PAN disability means that all disabled people are organised in the same group, or coalition of groups, regardless of the differences in the type of disability they have. Three coaches currently work with the players thereby allowing us to differentiate activities and cater more closely for the individual needs of each player. The Ross Juniors PAN Disability group currently caters for both male and female players from 16 years of age. Whilst not strictly following the restrictions of Walking Football, the sessions are of low intensity thereby making it accessible for all.
Since its inception in 2019, the initiative has met with a measure of success but there is no doubt the momentum generated pre-Covid has been difficult to recover but we are very pleased to say that, of late, the numbers attending have increased. However, we are keen to extend the remit of the group. This mightinclude those suffering from Parkinson's, are in stroke rehabilitation, have mental health issues, GP referrals (heart conditions etc) and individuals with early onset dementia. All would be welcome to join us. There is no fee for joining since the club has chosen to subsidise the initiative in line with its commitment to diversity.
Ross Juniors FC are very keen to ensure that the PAN Disability group is embedded in the club and able to reflect the successes of the many girls, boys, women and men’s teams. Plans are already in an advanced stage for the group to play in a tournament along with representative teams from Aspire and the Hereford Lads Club. This is due to take place on Sunday April 10th and would be the first opportunity for players to play in a competitive game and a suitable memorial for ‘Big Dave’ Stevens; a founder member of the group who would have loved the opportunity this event offers. In addition, two members of the group have been recommended to attend the West Midlands Regional Development team coaching in preparation for participation in the Special Olympics later in the year.
Sessions would normally take place at the Ross on Wye Sports Centre but, during the winter months, we have moved indoors at the John Kyrle High School Sports Centre. We aim to run sessions once a week (subject to the availability of venue(s)) and are currently meeting on Saturday mornings between 10.00am - 11.00am.
As numbers rise, the need for additional support will increase accordingly. If anyone is interested in joining the coaching team, please feel free to get in touch with either Jim, Gareth or Tony. Moreover, if you are aware of any individuals or organisations you think might benefit from participation please get in touch.Contact details are:
Jim Loftus 07903 010 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Stevens 07967 404 email@example.com
Gareth Nutt 07583 232 firstname.lastname@example.org