Kent Disability Football League
Allstars FC win charity of the year at Ward & Partners Children's Awards
Charlotte Hawkins and Operations Director of Ward & Partners Sam Dalton present the award for Charity of the Year to Coach Steven Chapman and one of his players, Hayden Giles from Allstars FC
A disabled football team and its members have been recognised at a prestigious county-wide ceremony.
Allstars Football Club, which trains in Deal and Dover, won the charity of the Year category at the Ward & Partners Children’s Awards 2016.
For the 11th year it was hosted by Good Morning Britain’s Charlotte Hawkins and a circus-themed show took place at the Mercure Hotel in Hollingbourne, where they collected their awards and £1,000 prize.
The team, which caters for youngsters with physical and learning disabilities, was among Kent’s awe-inspiring kids who have battled adversity and faced up to challenging situations.
Judges were convinced on the winners, agreeing that Allstars is far more than just a football club, it is a community.
Donna Spain, secretary, said: “It’s great, it shows all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, not just the committee, but the parents too. It’s really nice to be put forward for these things.Often people feel isolated if they have a disabled child. It’s nice that you all work together, that’s what its about, making sure the players are happy and the parents too”
The team started out with the name St Margaret’s Allstars 11 years ago. They then became Deal Allstars, and this year dropped that prefix.
Now, in 2016 there are only a few original members in the team of 10 dedicated committee members and volunteers.
Mrs Spain added: “It’s always been run by parents and carers.It’s not just a football club."
“Often people feel isolated if they have a disabled child. It’s nice that you all work together, that’s what its about, making sure the players are happy and the parents too.”
The club trains coaches too, four of whom are ex-players.
It has forged three recent successes in the disability football world too. Two players represented Kent Pan Disability football Club and another represented London South East regional cerebral palsy team.
Collaboration with Deal Town Rangers has helped the club along, and Dover Athletic FC hosted a summer school at the Crabble Ground in River to boost skills. They hope to extend this by putting on an all inclusive training session with disabled and mainstream players together.
The £1,000 prize money, sponsored by Ward & Partners will “go a long way” according to Mrs Spain, because each game costs £200 in travelling expenses.
The club aims to host a disability tournament in addition to the regular games in the Kent Disability Football League.