Ipswich Town Community Trust
Taking part in sport if you have a disability can be difficult. But with money from Sport Relief, the Ipswich Town Community Trust is proving it doesn't have to be.
Ipswich Town Disability Football Team
At first glance, the Ipswich Town Disability Football team don't look any different to any other squad in training. It's only after a while you notice the interpreter for the deaf player, and the man on crutches.
Having a disability isn't a barrier to playing football at the trust.
Andy Coles is the Ability Counts manager: "We aim to offer the best possible football opportunities for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and physical disabilities or mental health issues."
Darren Mitchell is the player on crutches. The club's a huge part of his life.
Members of the team in training
"When I was first told I was disabled I sat there in my room doing nothing. And when I started playing football again, I didn't think I'd ever be able to play for a club again.
"It just fills up my life this does. It's just brilliant, really."
Ricky Probert is another player. "It means so much. Just to meet new lads, and we play at great venues as well.
"The coaches are great and it's just a great atmosphere. It's good to be involved."
Something for everyone
Ricky says that even if people don't make the team, there's still room for them: "Even if they don't play matches, they can still train. They'd enjoy it and it would be them out. It's a good laugh. It always is."
The trust's aware how important ITFDFC is for those who are members, but Andy Coles says it's about more than being fun.
Warming up at the start of training
"From my point of view it's about creating the individual player. Making them not only a better player but a better person with regards to football."
And the Sport Relief funding helps make that happen. "Without the kind donations from Sport Relief we wouldn't be here," says Andy. "The money from that will help us provide opportunities for players to come through the teams."
The support they give is giving some of those players such confidence, they're hoping to do a lot more in future.
"Obviously there's the chance to get into the England squads, so there's opportunities there," Andy says.
Who knows, by 2012 we could be looking out for a Suffolk face or two in the Paralympic football team.
last updated: 29/02/2008 at 14:35