LETTERKENNY Rovers FC is set to lead out on an exciting initiative for children with a disability as it prepares to deliver the Football For All Programme, with assistance from Donegal Sports Partnership and the FAI.
The FAI Football For All Programme was established to assist and develop football opportunities for players with a disability in their local communities. There are currently 3,800 players participating in the initiative nationwide.
Donagh McMorrow is Club Mark Officer with Letterkenny Rovers and will coordinate the Football For All Programme at Leckview Park.
“Following our recent Club Mark Award, we were approached by the FAI to see if the club would be interested in running a Football For All initiative. When they came to present the award, we met with representatives from both the FAI and Donegal Sports Partnership to understand the programme better and how we might go about delivering it. The support to date has been great from both organisations,” he commented.
“The aim of the initiative is to offer football to children with a disability. We are asking the people of Letterkenny and the northwest to volunteer and help us deliver the programme. The expectation is that the sessions will be held once a week. We believe this will be a fantastic experience for Letterkenny Rovers and hope it will be a valuable resource to the local community.
“So, we are really looking for people that would be interested in volunteering, either coaching or giving a hand. No prior experience is required since education and training will be provided,” Donagh added.
Speaking about the initiative, Football For All Regional Development Officer with the FAI, Paul Smyth, said: “The FAI are delighted to work in partnership with the Donegal Sports Partnership to support the development of the Football For All Club Programme at Letterkenny Rovers. It’s an exciting time for Rovers with the new pitch development at Leckview, and the Football For All Programme will provide opportunities for young players with additional needs to join the club.”
He added: “We would like to reach out to anybody who would like to volunteer some time to the programme and will support them through the various training workshops. Working in Football For All is so rewarding and enjoyable for those who get involved.”
Thérèse Laverty is Sports Inclusion Disability Officer with Donegal Sports Partnership. She said she’s excited to see the development of the Football for All initiative in Donegal.
“Donegal Sports Partnership are delighted to support Letterkenny Rovers in the rollout of the Football For All initiative within the club. Hopefully, this will become a flagship programme that will lead the way for the Football For All Programme in Donegal. It is fantastic to see a club embracing inclusion and I have no doubt the development will be welcomed by families in the Letterkenny area and throughout Donegal,” she added.
“The appointment of Paul Smyth as FFA regional development officer with the FAI has been very positive – it enables us to work in partnership on this initiative and on other inclusive football programmes in the county. Prior to implementation of the participation programme, we have put together a capacity-building element in partnership with the FAI which aims to support volunteers in building their skill set in the area of inclusion.
“Volunteers do not need to have previous experience in the provision of sport for people with a disability, although those with experience are also more than welcome. I would encourage anyone who might like to get involved in whatever capacity to register their interest either with myself or Paul.”