A new initiative that aims to give disabled people in Hartlepool more opportunities to play football was launched at the weekend.
The Borough Council's Sport and Recreation Service has joined forces with Hartlepool United FC, the Hartlepool United Disabled Supporters Association (HUDSA), Lifestyle Northeast and Durham County FA to stage a series of disability football sessions.
They event took place on the all-weather pitch at Grayfields recreation ground, starting on Saturday (April 20) and running for six weeks.
A session for ladies will take place from 11am-12pm and this will be followed by a session for men from 12-1pm. The sessions which cost £1 per person, will be led by fully qualified FA coaches.
The initiative is aimed at people with various levels of disability, but all participants must be over the age of 16.
Keith Nobbs from Hartlepool United FC's Football in the Community Programme, said: "We have identified a gap in the provision of football opportunities in respect of disabled people and we are pleased to be working in partnership with the other organisations to try to address the issue.
"The sessions will teach participants some basic skills, including helping them with their balance and co-ordination. They will also be able to part in some small-sided games and we hope the whole experience will enable them to further develop their interest in football, perhaps by joining a club."
Darran Hutchinson, the Secretary of HUDSA and a Disability Day Services Co-ordinator with Hartlepool Council, said disabled people in Hartlepool currently have to travel as far afield as Newcastle to take part in competitive football matches.
"It would be great if this initiative led to the formation of a locally-based league in which disabled people can compete."
Rachel Pringle, Sport and Physical Activity Officer with Hartlepool Council, said: "We have an on-going commitment to provide and promote opportunities for all Hartlepool people to play football and we are delighted to be launching this initiative for disabled people in the town."
Alysha Cook DCFA 'I am really looking forward to the sessions starting. Hopefully we will engage participants from a variety of playing backgrounds and see good interest from female participants too. If we are able to form a team then that would be fantastic".
01429 264661/ 851353 or firstname.lastname@example.orgPeople wishing to take part in the sessions can obtain further information by calling or e-mailing