Saturday 3rd December 2022 is International Day of People with Disabilities. At Derbyshire FA, we are recognising and celebrating Derbyshire’s Heroes!
Hilton Harriers Football Club, based in South Derbyshire, were founded in 1992 and have over 30 teams. The club have their very own All-Inclusive Team. They partake in weekly sessions which are designed to allow people with special education needs and disabilities the opportunity to develop their football skills, as part of a team, which otherwise might be more difficult for them when participating in mainstream football teams. The team focuses on friendship and fun and creating a sense of community for all players.
The sessions are run by Kevin and Maxine Harlow, the most recent recipients of Derbyshire FA’s Dave Heron Award, for their services to the Youth Grassroot Football in Derbyshire. Take a closer look at Hilton Harriers All-Inclusive Club in the video below.
Hilton Harrier’s sessions integrate a perfect mix of football, fun and teamwork. This includes passing and dribbling mini games, enjoyable activities such as keeping a football balanced on a parachute which everyone holds, 1v1 training against goalkeepers, football cricket, and of course, penalties!
Parents of the Hilton players have very positive words to say about the club, team, and sessions. Below are the quotes from parents and carers.
“The club means the world to my son (17) who has autism. It gives him a rare space where he is fully accepted and celebrated and supported for who he is. The sense of community within the team, the coaches and the parents is amazing. As a parent, standing and chatting for an hour every week with other parents who "get it" is better than any therapy you could pay for! What's also wonderful is seeing the teammates socialising. Watching them party together, again in an environment of total acceptance, means so much to us. “
“My son goes to the sessions on a Thursday. He's only been going for a couple of months now but it's really helping his social skills and getting him moving more. Before he started, he would rarely leave the house and didn't like mixing with new people as he feels different to the other kids at school and in our village (he has Cerebral Palsy, Autism & anxiety) so these sessions have been amazing for him. Wish I'd started him sooner. “
“My daughter has been part of Hilton Harriers Inclusive for 8 years and absolutely loves it. The coaches and all staff involved are such lovely people and are so dedicated to our young people. They all look forward to Wednesdays and Thursdays as they can all be themselves without judgement from anyone. My daughter calls them her ‘football family’. It’s a fabulous group to be a part of.”
At Derbyshire FA, we believe in ‘Changing Lives Through Football’ and Hilton Harriers All-Inclusive do exactly that. On International Day of People with Disabilities and every other day, they are certainly Derbyshire’s Heroes!