Trip gives unique footballers something to smile about

Youngsters at a unique football club enjoyed an action-packed trip to the Lake District thanks to the support of the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Cerebral Palsy United  FC – also known as CP United FC – was set up in 2013 for anyone with cerebral palsy or an acquired brain injury who wanted to play football regardless of their age.

The charity has gone from strength to strength and now provide hundreds of people with the opportunity to play football.

CP United FC were awarded £12,000 from the Community Match Challenge (CMC) Fund, which is a match-funding joint initiative between the Steve Morgan Foundation and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

They also received two smaller grants totalling £6,500 from the SMF Covid-19 Emergency Fund during the early stages of the pandemic.

The charity used some of the money to fund an unforgettable activity residential trip to The Kepplewray Centre in the Lake District.

Michelle Willcock, who helped found the charity, said the trip was designed to support wellbeing through nature and the outdoors after a difficult 18 months caused by Covid-19.

She said: “Our members all have cerebral palsy (CP) or an acquired brain injury and all have had their individual challenges to navigate through, from bereavement, shielding, isolation, loss of social confidence, loss of physical capabilities due to not being able to access the physio and exercise they need.

“Getting them out in nature and reconnecting with each other in person in a calming and natural environment has been a massive success. These visits to the activity centre and especially the recent residential was such a release for our young members who were just so happy to be together, having fun, being challenged and making memories.

“We focused on some teamwork and problem-solving activities as well as some individual support for specific things. Due to Covid our players haven’t played any games for a long, long time and are missing this social time with their friends as much as the football games themselves.

“We have managed to train in between the lockdowns, but having something to look forward to, like the activity centre visits, has really made such a big difference to them.

“We saw so much development in them during the residential visit and also during the day visits in April and June. In total we have been able to pay for 50 places for our players to experience the activities and before that from Jan-March 2021 we visited with 38 players and their families during the lockdown and did some fun things outside including forest walks, beach walks, garden picnics, park picnics and focused on a positive mindset.

“We have tried to create some new experiences and develop some different skills to normal football skills. All these experiences with not only help them as footballers but also as people.”


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