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Mixed ability football festival


Earlier this month, Barnsley’s mixed ability football team took part in their first tournament. Housing officer, Joe Boyd the team’s coach explains.

“Mencap organised a mixed ability football festival and fun day at Keepmoat Football Stadium in Doncaster. Taking part in this football tournament had been in the making as long as the team was, and it was our first goal. The tournament was in the 5-a-side format so we had a squad big enough to enter two teams. After much deliberation, Barnsley Whippets and Mencap Flatcaps were born – and, we’d surely be awarded for having the best named teams in the tournament if nothing else!

The day was a massive success for everyone involved. Sixteen teams from Yorkshire, Nottingham, London and a few places inbetween took part. The Whippets were unfortunately narrowly knocked out in the group stages whilst the Flatcaps made it a little further to the quarter finals. Every one of our players played lots of football, had lots of fun and most scored a few goals. A few players even upped their games for the big stage – David of the Flatcaps, my player of the tournament netting an impressive four goals in four games. I couldn’t have been more proud in every one of them. The main topic of conversation before the coach home was when would we be playing again.

The next goal is to find more players, find more opposition and travel to play organised games more often. If we and other teams continue to raise awareness of mixed ability sports then maybe even a mixed-ability league one day in the near future.”

Photos from the event

You can download the photos from the mixed ability football festival.

Sign up to Barnsley’s mixed ability football team

The team is looking for people with and without a learning disability, all ages and gender. For more information and to join the football team, email