Kilmarnock Football Club hosts Football Tournament for Adults with Learning Disabilities

It was go, go, goal at Kilmarnock Football Club on Thursday 26 August for a ‘Day of Two Halves’, where mental health and physical health disabilities groups came together for a football tournament. The event was hosted by Kilmarnock Football Club and East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership.

Mary Kennedy, Day Opportunities Manager, Manager of Short Breaks Service and event organiser, said: “I was pleased that so many people took time out of their busy schedules to take part in the event.

“It was great to see a real mixture of people with experience of using a diverse range of services and professionals getting together to have fun, but also there was a real sense of really good partnership working across the Health and Social Care Partnership – everyone participated with enthusiasm and gusto!”

The day was spilt into two sessions; the morning involved a tournament with service workers and users and the afternoon session involved the ‘Get on Side’ teams, one from Kilmarnock Football Club and the other from Clyde Football Club, going head-to-head in a friendly match.

Brian Sproul, Youth and Community Education Officer at Kilmarnock Football Club and event organiser, said: “We had a meeting about eight weeks ago and had an idea of a ‘day of two halves’.

“The idea was that service users could come in the morning and then in the afternoon session two previous course teams come along with Clyde Football Club.

“I can see the benefits of this type of event straight away, you just need to look at the pitches and at the boys and girls to see the benefits.

“For me, it gives me so much pleasure to see them enjoying themselves, and it’s also a very safe environment.

“As a football club we are pleased to support this event.”

There were fifteen teams in the morning tournament all competing for the Killie Trophy. The pitch was split into quarters so that there were four matches at once. Teams made up of a combination of service workers and service users took over the pitch playing with the help of Kilmarnock Football Club coaches. East Ayrshire United were victorious, winning the Killie Trophy.

Jamie Turnbull, a family support practitioner within the Johnnie Walker bond, Kilmarnock said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for service users and for people that work for local authority in such an expansive place to come together and share in one activity.

“Everyone’s here for a game of football and it’s all positive.

“From a practitioner’s point of view it’s something a bit refreshing when you go to training all the time. This is almost just as good for healthy body, healthy minds.”

The ‘Get on Side’ teams then took over in the afternoon session. A strong match took place between Kilmarnock and Clyde ending in a draw of 7-7.

David Douglas, Chief Executive of Clyde FC: “I thought this afternoon was brilliant, it really summed up ‘Get on Side’.
“We’ve had the pleasure of being down at Kilmarnock before for the ‘Get on Side’ programme, we did it at Clyde a number of times. It’s amazing seeing the confidence that people have developed by being on the ‘Get on Side’ programme.

“It’s wonderful that Kilmarnock hosted the event and that Clyde came down for the day.

“It was a fantastic day and I think it sends out a positive message about football and that football should mean something to its local community and give something back to its local community.

“Today was about fun and having a laugh and about people contributing in any way that they can.”

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