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Newcastle United Foundation Team Up With Football Club Social Alliance For Ukraine Disability Football Programme

Newcastle United Foundation has teamed up with the Football Club Social Alliance to deliver a disability coach education programme in Ukraine.

The Young Coach Education Programme equipped almost 40 young adults from across Ukraine with the necessary skills to be able to offer children with disabilities the opportunity to participate in football activities.

In Ukraine, there are limited opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in football. The initiative will raise awareness about disability and create sporting opportunities that are accessible to all. The additional module dedicated to disability football was delivered by instructors from the Irish Football Association and Newcastle United Foundation.

During the training, the Young Coaches developed a greater understanding about disability football and the barriers to participation. They gained practical experience planning and implementing football sessions as well as knowledge of how to adapt sessions according to the participants ability.

Oleksandr Ovcharenko, a young coach who participated in the programme said: “I was very excited to coach children with disabilities. There are a lot of children in Ukraine with disabilities and they are not given enough opportunities.

“It has been a very important experience for us as coaches. This was my first experience of working with kids with disabilities in football. We want to take the knowledge from this module and, if possible, in future create groups for the disabled kids and coach them too.”

Young coach Karyna Fostyk also commented on the value the programme: “I have never had such experience before, but it is very important in my job to have this experience.

“The first session with kids with learning disabilities was mentally very hard for us. We had to adjust our game plan to fit the kids. However, the kids were satisfied, they were having fun and we also took some good experience.”

At the end of the programme, Foundation staff were treated to a dinner at Shakhtar Donetsk – another key player in the programme – where they discussed the forthcoming launch of the club’s Foundation, as well as their Grassroots and Disability Football programmes.

Reggie Dornan, Senior Disability Football Development Officer at Newcastle United Foundation said: “The programme went very well, which is down to the Young Coaches being so enthusiastic and willing to learn new skills.

“The question now is for them to use the knowledge that we’ve shared with them during the past three days. They have grown massively over the course of the training and became a tight group. The session with the children with learning disabilities was a tough session for them but I think this gave them a lot of strength from that experience. Disability coach education is of massive value and there are not enough people doing it and this was one of the barriers highlighted to participation.

“We need more coaches that are willing to coach disability football and the game will grow very quickly.”

The disability specific module of the Young Coach Education Programme was delivered in collaboration with Scort, the FCSA, FC Shakhtar Donetsk, the Irish Football Association, Newcastle United Foundation and the National Assembly of People with a Disability Ukraine. The project in Ukraine is funded by the UEFA Foundation for Children.

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