Posted in Inclusion 3 months ago
Barnsley Football Club midfielder Kenny Dougall surprised pupils from Greenacre School as part of Reds in the Community’s celebrations for the EFL Day of Disabilities.
Today (3rd December), professional Football Clubs and their Community Trusts across the country will be raising awareness of the needs of people with disabilities in the community.
Greenacre is a special school which cares for children and young people with severe and complex needs between the ages of 3-19.
Reds in the Community work with Greenacre on a weekly basis and invited pupils from the school to attend a day of football activities at Oakwell last week.
What the children didn’t know was that a first-team Reds player was going to be making an appearance on the day.
The Australian midfielder answered the children’s questions before posing for a group photo and signing autographs.
Kenny, who moved to Oakwell in the summer from Sparta Rotterdam, enjoyed being a part in a big day of celebrations across the country.
He said: “Just meeting the kids and interacting with them is always good. Giving back to the community is something that I like doing and I know the other boys like doing as well. It’s really important giving back and every little bit counts. It’s a bit humbling. The ability that you [have that] can make their days is quite surreal actually. It’s nice to contribute and give back. That’s the main point – awareness, and getting people thinking out of their bubbles. If the EFL can do that then that’s great and us players are obviously more than happy to contribute.”
After Kenny departed, the pupils enjoyed a football session with Lynn Goodman before being taken on a tour of Oakwell stadium.
Women & Girls Development Officer Lynn, who also leads on a number of programmes for disabled participants, spoke about the importance of days such as the EFL Day of Disabilities.
She said: “Reds in the Community supported the EFL Day of Disabilities by getting some students from Greenacre School down to Oakwell, where they have taken part in some football activities, a ground tour and a player appearance from a first-team member. It’s great to have days like today because they help to raise awareness and understanding of individual needs.”
Kenny was just the latest Barnsley FC player to meet pupils from Greenacre after Jacob Brown, Jake Greatorex and Matty Wolfe helped present the school’s annual awards last month.
Joel Molyneux, who was one of the Greenacre staff in attendance on the school’s Oakwell visit, gave an insight into what the day meant to the pupils.
He said: “It’s been a pleasure for them. I think they’ve really enjoyed it. They’ll gain so much experience from this. Meeting the players and even just having days like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the kids. Sport has lots of ways of raising awareness. All Football Clubs are doing an amazing job across the country.”
For more stories like this from up and down the country, keep an eye on social media for the #EFLDayofDisabilities hashtag.