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On the ball in north east Essex
A local football project for adults with learning disabilities has been given funding by NHS North East Essex for the next five years.
The project will be launched with a tournament in Colchester on July 18. A football group was first set up about four years ago by health professionals Carolyn Rogers and Mo Seeraullee who have continued to run it in their free time ever since.
“It started when half a dozen of our clients suggested a kickabout in Castle Park and it just snowballed,” said Mrs Rogers. “We now have about 25 participants in Colchester and 12 in Clacton ranging in age from 18 to 63.
The new funding will allow the setting up of a group in Harwich too.” NHS North East Essex will fund the employment of a co-ordinator two days a week, as well as covering costs including an admin post, football coaches, venue hire and transport.
Mrs Rogers, an occupational therapist, and Mr Seeraullee, a community nurse, will job share the co-ordinator post enabling them to extend the health benefits and sporting opportunities of the project.
“We have already seen improvements in self-esteem, communications skills, general health and mental well-being among clients taking part,” said Mrs Rogers. “Now we will be able to offer individual health plans and bi-monthly health checks to all players and help to target specific problems such as weight management and smoking cessation.”
With the new support, the teams will continue to build on the health and sporting successes they have already achieved. With second place in the Eastern Region Ability Counts Football League already under their belt, players will be aiming for top spot next season.