A football team for people with disabilities has been keeping their players active and entertained during the coronavirus lockdown.
Braunton Ability FC has 25 members, aged between seven and 57 years old, with disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome and learning difficulties.
The club, which was created six months before the lockdown started, helps members stay active, as well as building confidence and self-esteem.
Coach Melanie Benson-Regan said the support the club offers became increasingly important as the coronavirus outbreak developed.
She said: “People with disabilities and their families are much more at risk of feeling alone, isolated or anxious, especially during times like this.
“During lockdown we also realised that lots of our players were struggling to stay fit and active whilst at home – which is why we decided to apply for the funding.”
The team was granted £350 from the Covid-19 Prompt Action Fund, which was jointly funded by Devon County Council and North Devon Council, with the money used to make and deliver activity packs to members.
The packs contained a mixture of educational, physical and fun activities including a stamped and addressed envelope, so players could write and receive letters from a teammate, word searches, colouring sheets, toys, a sunflower kit, cupcake mix, treats and hand sanitiser.
Melanie added: “We want to say a massive thank you to Devon County Council and North Devon Council for supporting our group. It’s really helped us to keep supporting vulnerable people in our community.
“The packs have been very popular, and we have enjoyed being able to deliver them to our players - seeing them using their packs has been amazing and feedback from parents and carers has been terrific.”
Devon County Council’s cabinet member for communities, Councillor Roger Croad, said: “People with disabilities and their families can be more vulnerable to the impacts of lockdown, and the work that Braunton FC Ability Team is doing to support their players is wonderful to see - I’d like to say a big thank you to all involved.”
North Devon Council leader, Councillor David Worden, added: “A new initiative like this put on by Braunton FC Ability Team highlights just how important groups and clubs and the support they provide is to our residents.
“It really does make an enormous difference maintaining contact with friends and team mates to support each other during this time.