Northern Falcons all abilities success
June is Football for All month and Northern Falcons are a shining example.
Northern Falcons have been running an all abilities football program for the past four years, going from strength to strength with their numbers continuing to grow and are preparing for their first ever gala day.
The club has been selected as the FFV Best Practice Project for creating an inclusive environment and Club President Frank Pizzo said that ensuring participants of the all abilities program are fully immersed in all aspects of the club is the key to success.
?These guys don?t just rock up on a Tuesday night and on a Sunday for a game,? he said.
?They come to the club functions, they have their own functions which our able bodied players go to; they are just like every other member of our club.?
The program provides an excellent social outlet that the players may miss out on otherwise.
?To watch them play and train and pull on the club jumper to represent the club is amazing,? said Frank.
?Some of these kids don?t get any social contact other than this. It?s a place where they can belong for three or four hours a week and that?s something you can?t put a price on.?
The program now has 17 players after beginning with six and involves training on a Tuesday night with a game once a month. The training is very similar to a training program you might see at any other team with only slight adjustments to cater for players? disabilities. The ultimate aim is to form an all abilities league and the club will steadily move in that direction.
Frank?s number one piece of advice to clubs hoping to start their own all abilities program was to be patient and not see the program as a money making venture.
?The initial steps are the difficult ones but we?re really glad we have persevered,? said Frank.
?The first three years we lost money and now through some support from local businesses we are now in the black.
?There?s a whole other side to it that really needs to be taken into account which includes benefits to the community and benefits to the kids who wouldn?t have this opportunity otherwise. You can?t put a dollar value on that.?
If you are interested in finding out more about the Northern Falcons all abilities program please contact Frank on 0400 015 850.
The next Best Practice Project to be highlighted will be on player retention.
Click here for more information and to submit an entry.
The winner each month receives 10 Jabulani Glider footballs for their club as well as a story on the FFV website highlighting their initiative.