The 2021/22 season saw a first for the County, as Cramlington United Juniors began an exciting project to help develop junior pan-disability football – Northumberland FA Inclusion Hubs.
The Hubs are weekly turn up and play recreational sessions designed to develop confidence and new friends in a positive and welcoming environment, using the skills of our community clubs to deliver safe and quality football to SEN children that may not have had the chance to play before.
The project is joint funded by The FA’s Innovation Fund and Northumberland FA, with the application being recognised as best practice. The funding allows for the hiring and development of grassroots coaches, supported by the county and their grassroots clubs, to gain experience within disability football.
During the 2022/23 season the Inclusion Hubs grew from one to three, with Blyth Spartans AFC and Wallsend Boys Club signing up in January 2023. With all three clubs now running their sessions, youth pan-disability football within our community clubs is growing. It has also created a relationship between the clubs and their local school network, where engagement with SENCOs and PE Leads has helped share the new opportunity with the children and their parents.
2022/23 season provided another milestone for the county and disability football as Cramlington United Juniors affiliated the first youth pan-disability team to play in Durham’s Ability Counts league. The team is coached by Ryan and James, players from Cramlington’s Open-Age Disability Team, who have become role models for the young players attending the sessions.
As the 2023/24 season approaches Northumberland FA will continue to support the current clubs with Inclusion Hubs and look for potential new clubs to begin their journey in disability football. Its an exciting time for disability football in the county.
Northumberland FA Inclusion Hubs operate during term time at the following England Accreditation Community Clubs:
Cramlington United Juniors
Northburn Sports and Community Centre, NE23 3YP
Wallsend BC FC
Kirkley Park, NE28 8SX
Malvin’s Close Academy
For more information on NFA Inclusion Hubs and disability football, please email Christopher.Kilburn@northumberlandfa.com