MANAGER – MELANIE TIMBERLAKE
For boys and girls aged 4 – 16
Members of the BOBI (Berks Oxfordshire Bucks Inclusive) League, the RRJFC PD Team aims to make football inclusive to all, regardless of learning difficulty, physical difficulty or any other traditional barrier to playing fun and educational football. We welcome children aged 6-15+ plus parents and siblings to join us at training sessions on Saturday mornings, Monks Risborough School from 09:15. This season will be our third in the BOBI League where participation is totally at the discretion of the individual and where we engage in regular tournaments with short games, very relaxed rules and lots of fun competition (no-one takes things too seriously and we have a good laugh on the day!) – this time around we’ll be competing in both the U8, U12 and U16 categories.
Training is held every Saturday morning at 9:15 at Monks Risborough School, HP27 9LZ. We aim to finish at around 10:30. Click here for directions.
BBC SPORTS PRESENTER IS “DELIGHTED TO BECOME PATRON” OF RISBOROUGH RANGERS JUNIOR F.C. DISABILITY TEAM
Mike Bushell, the well-known BBC Breakfast TV and Radio 2 sports presenter, has become the Patron of a local pan-disability (PD) football team for boys and girls aged 4 to 16.
“This is a truly inspirational initiative by Risborough Rangers! The players all have wide smiles on their faces throughout the session and it is a joy to watch them participate in a sport that hitherto was not possible for them to be involved in. This is real ‘inclusivity in sport’ and I am delighted to become their Patron – to support and encourage them as they develop, and to bring the game to many others in the future,” said Mike Bushell.
The team was started by Risborough Rangers Junior F.C. just six months ago and has players with a range of physical and learning disabilities including autism (ASD), ADHD, Down’s syndrome, global development delay and muscular dystrophy. They are children that, in the main, are unable to join in able-bodied football and may also include those with cerebral palsy, a hearing or sight impairment, restricted growth or amputations: unfortunately it does not include those that are blind or in a wheelchair.
“We’re extremely pleased to have Mike Bushell as our Patron – his involvement further reinforces the fantastic support that we have already received from parents, all members of the Club, W.E. Black – our kit sponsor , the Berks & Bucks FA, the Buckinghamshire Community Foundation and many others: for all of which we’re massively grateful. As a parent of one of the PD team members, I am so pleased that my 10-year old son, who has ASD, now has an opportunity to play football in a fun and nurturing environment, yet one which is teaching him valuable life and football skills- despite his challenges. I’m very proud of what the boys and girls have achieved in a few short months and am excited about what the future holds for them as individuals and as a team,” said Andy Forkgen, Manager/Coach.
“I wasn’t really a ‘football-man’ but the benefits to both my son and our family were apparent from the very first session in which he participated, so I very quickly decided to get fully involved by becoming the team’s coach!” continued Andy Forkgen. And Andy was not alone as another parent, Ben Marman, is now also well on his way to his coaching qualification with a Mum next in line to complete the course.
The parents’ involvement with the PD group is even more important, as they understand how to effectively communicate with children with disabilities and the fact that there will be three qualified coaches is a real bonus.
The benefits to the players are many including greater social interaction, confidence building, physical activity, fitness and coordination, stimulation, communication skills, control, learning and team participation. The parents and their families also benefit not only from a degree of respite during sessions, but also from their child’s real enthusiasm and all round level of fun and enjoyment that is very plain to see.
This PD group is now one of 18 teams, totalling over 360 players from ages 5 to 16, within Risborough Rangers Junior F.C. which was established in 1971 and now has FA Charter status,
Ex Club Chairman , Mike Baxter said , “As a Club we have always strived to ensure that every person who wants to be involved in the game has the opportunity to reach their potential regardless of their ability. The provision of our newly formed PD team has allowed us to reach our ultimate goal and to see the players having great fun and actively taking part in grassroots football has been an inspiration to us all.”