A pan-disability football club in Oxford has been named the best of its kind in the country.
Oxford City FC Casuals beat a whole host of clubs to be named the ‘Best Programme for People with Disabilities’ at the National League Awards. The award was judged on the programme of both physical and social sessions provided by each club and their impact on both children and adults with disabilities in the local community.
As well as an impressive trophy, the club received a cheque for £5000 (shown below) which will help them buy essential equipment.
Speaking to the Oxford Mail, manager Mark Heelis was in an understandably buoyant mood, “We’re delighted – it is a fantastic recognition of all the hard work we have put in.
“We have no members of staff – I am a volunteer, I am supported by three support volunteers and we have 12 volunteer coaches.
“For me this award validates the role they have played in the community, giving their time every Sunday: it’s an incredible thing and I’m so proud to be a part of it.”
The beneficial effect that the club have had on the community is certainly clear when you read what parents of children who attend sessions there have to say.
Speaking to the club’s website, Chris Cillen, father of Cameron who has Down Syndrome explains , “Cameron enjoys his time at the casuals immensely and is determined to go every week without fail. Overall it has developed his confidence and physical ability and skills as well as interaction with others. It’s great for him too to mix with others of all abilities”.
Deborah Turner also explains to the club’s website how her son, Jake Tombs who is epileptic and has learning difficulties, benefits from his time at the club, “(Jake) loves playing football and joining the Casuals allowed him to. He loves going to the social activities which I think makes him feel part of the community”
If you would like to learn more about the great work that Oxford City FC Casuals do, you can read more on their website. If you are near the Oxford area and would like to become part of their award winning team, either as a player or volunteer, you are encouraged to get in touch with the manager Mark Heelis via email on: email@example.com.
Picture from National League Website