Special football sessions to ensure everyone can get their kicks

By Sam Cooper | 23/07/2017

Special football sessions to ensure everyone can get their kicks

MANY children are at their happiest when kicking a football around, so imagine having an illness or condition which means you can’t.

All of your friends are running around enjoying a kickabout and you’re left watching on the touchline.

That is where committed coach and volunteer John Bellis comes in.

John, chairman of Aston Swallownest Junior Football Club, has set up specialist sessions for children who suffer from conditions such as cerebral palsy or who use frames to walk.

He holds weekly games for youngsters aged from three to 16 to be able to enjoy the sport.

“I have worked with Make A Wish Foundation as a volunteer for the last five or six years,” John said.

“I work with seriously and terminally-ill kids and their attitude to life just totally inspires me.”

John launched the weekly frame football sessions at Thomas Rotherham College last month.

Five youngsters attended the first session, including Jordan Cowood, who has cerebral palsy.

His mum Paula, of Catcliffe, said: “He used to do the disability football up at Wickersley and he really struggled with it because they were quite a few able-bodied kids there.

“He just tended to stand still and encourage the others. He wasn’t really participating there but he absolutely loved the TRC session.

“He was acting like a typical teenager at first but as soon as he got there he really enjoyed it.”

Stephanie Crookes took her five-year-old daughter Martha, who also has cerebral palsy, to the session and said she “loved it”.

Stephanie added: “She did a sports class for children with cerebral palsy in January but then there was nowhere for her to go and play football.

“The session was fantastic. We’ve been looking for things for her to do for a while and it’s hard especially because she is a bit younger.”

The Framed Football South Yorkshire: Aston and Swallownest sessions will run at TRC every Monday from 6pm until 7pm for the next three months.
John said he was looking for a new venue from September.

For more information or if you can help with a venue call John on 07791 138276.