A new football team for adults with disabilities is ready for action.
Hebburn Town FC, winners of the 2020 FA Vase, have agreed an affiliation with South Tyneside disability club AutismAble FC to form a new adult disability football team.
The club which will now be known as Hebburn Town AutismAble FC will provide disability football training to people aged 16 and over who are diagnosed with Autism, a learning disability or an associated condition.
The merger, affiliated through the Durham County Football Association will ensure much–improved infrastructure, coaching facilities and resources for the existing team whilst AutismAble will provide Autism Awareness Training to the Hebburn Town coaching team.
AutismAble FC has already seen some success itself, winning the North East Inclusion League in 2017 & 2019, and also making it to the semi-finals of the FA People’s cup in Manchester in 2017.
Gary Henry, a coach at Hebburn Town FC, said: “Hebburn Town FC are a growing community club, as part of our growth we want to enhance our inclusive approach thus promoting the ‘football for all’ philosophy.
“The club already has provisions for male and female participants and today we can announce we are expanding into offering participation for people with disabilities.
“The club is thrilled to welcome ‘AutismAble’ under the club’s umbrella to become Hebburn Town Autism Able, after speaking with Andrew, Kevin from AutismAble and Andrea from the DCFA it seemed like the perfect match for all.
Stephen Rutherford, Club CEO, added: “These are our first steps into introducing further participation for all across our local community, we have been working closely with Andrea at Durham County FA and hosting additional sessions focused on visual and hearing impaired disabilities alongside the AutismAble sessions.
“The attendance has been great and we are quickly identifying demand that allows us to create additional teams.
“The link with AutismAble focuses on participants on the Autism spectrum and we hope alongside Andrew and Kevin’s great work we can introduce more to these sessions.”
Durham FA’s Disability Football Officer Andrea Fyall said: “This partnership between an established disability club and Community Club provides an excellent opportunity for both to learn and support each other.
“We are always looking to develop and build on disability football opportunities across the County FA and this is an excellent example for more of our clubs looking to develop their own disability team and increase participation.”
Andrew Forster, AutismAble’s head of Service and Partnerships, said: “We have been in discussions with Hebburn for a while and have been really impressed with their desire to improve opportunities in football for people who have disabilities.
“Their stadium and training facilities are of a very high standard for us to provide safe, high-quality training for the team.
“Hebburn Town has also agreed to work with us as a work placement partner which will help us provide valuable work experience for young people with Autism.
“We are very grateful to Andrea at Durham FA and Gary and Steven from Hebburn Town who have helped facilitate this agreement. The merger will help increase participation in disability football and raise awareness”.
The team trains 12.30pm – 2pm every Tuesday and 3.30pm – 5pm every Friday.
Anyone interested in finding out more about Hebburn Town AutismAble Football club can email email@example.com.