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New football club for people with autism
Free football sessions for adults with autism and Asperger syndrome are being offered at Hertfordshire Sports Village in Hatfield.
The project has been organised by the National Autistic Society (NAS) to encourage people living with the condition to get out and socialise.
The first session begins on Tuesday morning and will run for an initial ten week period.
Wayne Thorpe, from NAS Hertfordshire said he was inspired to organise the training by the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games, as well as his own love of football.
He added: “I’ve met so many people with autism who want to get more involved in sport but struggle to access or maintain a position in mainstream teams.”
Mr Thorpe hopes the project will be successful enough to enable a disability team to be set up.
The project is being funded by the Hertfordshire Sports Partnership and will be run by two coaches from Watford FC’s Community Sports and Education Trust.
Gareth Jones, disability development manager at the trust, said: “I was involved in a similar project at the NAS’ Radlett Lodge school last year and have seen the benefits sport can offer people with autism.”
People with autism and Aspergers often find interaction difficult.
Mr Thorpe said: ‘Playing football on a big open field carries far less pressure for individuals. There is also a cafe at the Sports Village which offers more opportunity to socialise.’
NAS Hertfordshire also runs seven youth clubs for 13-17 year olds and a drama group in Hemel and is in the process of setting up a tennis club.
For more information contact Wayne Thorpe at Wayne.Thorpe@nas.org.uk or on 07795978224.