MCT’s Down Syndrome Programme Making Huge Strides
Ben Perryman, Disability Community Development Officer, started the down syndrome team in September 2016 with just a small group in Bellingham of 6 5-9 year olds. From this, the programme has only continued to grow in both success and popularity. The first example of this was the recruitment of 3 older boys aged 18-21 in October 2016. After 8 short months with the programme MCT were able to fill our first ever down syndrome team in a competitive event. The event was held at Fulham FC’s training facility, Motspur Park Training Ground where we played 3 other teams in a very well organised tournament. Despite not winning the tournament, MCT were very impressed with our team as they represented us with pride and showed that this is only the start of what they want to accomplish as a team.
Since the tournament, the participants on the entire programme have become hungrier for more competitive events and want to also move into more sports to fully challenge themselves. With help of our partners over at DS Active and Tennis Lewisham we were then able hold brand-new DS Tennis sessions. Our first session had 11 participants aged 6-15 attend which is a great success for the programme with such big interest so quickly in the programme.
After this the football team attended their first ever national tournament in Birmingham where they took on many teams, including Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Arsenal. Once again, the entire team showed their character in the tournament and gave their all in every fixture, making us all at MCT, extremely proud of them. Despite not winning the event, they were all so happy with their performances and what they achieved and truly showcase what playing sport is truly about.
Going forward 6-9 months we would like to recruit even more participants and can have the ability to have two teams as part of our down syndrome programme. One Junior team (U16) and one Senior team (17+). With two team the down syndrome programme will only speed up in the extraordinary growth we’ve already seen it have and it won’t be long till it’s a leading programme, not only across the company, but all of London.
MCT will be holding an event on 28thth September to help raise money for the DS Lions and Lion Cubs, please stay tuned for more information, coming soon. This event will be the exact help we need in pushing us to reach our goals for the near future and we hope that you all can be a part of this amazing journey as we help improve the lives of people, in our community, through the power of sport.
If you know anyone who has Downs Syndrome and wants to play football or tennis, please contact Ben Perryman, Disability Community Development Officer, at [email protected] or 07973794823.