Grassroots Football: A voice for women with learning disabilities

Our society is making progress towards a more inclusive environment. Nevertheless, there is still a general lack of opportunity and integration for women with learning disabilities, and prejudice is still present on a large scale.

We think that grassroots football is a great step towards women with learning disabilities finding their potential.

Grassroots Football is a Path to Better Community Representation

Few activities benefit from the popularity that football enjoys. Recognised as a universal language, the beautiful game is a combination of passion, determination and most importantly, unity. It is well known for breaking cultural and social barriers.

Through grassroots football, we feel that women with learning disabilities have a better chance of being represented. Each female’s struggles and progress can provide a role model for others to access new possibilities. However, we know that the first step is most commonly the hardest.

While we are still surrounded by prejudice, a football club that is inclusive towards women with learning disabilities could represent a place where they won’t be judged. They are also bound to find others like them, harness friendships and build bridges for others to follow. We think that small organisations could be a stepping stone for people to find their place in society, build confidence, and pursue other activities.

Team Sports Cultivate a Sense of Belonging

Enabling women with learning disabilities to find others with the same barriers can encourage and motivate. Working together towards a common goal is

empowering. Through football, we think that our players have a chance of winning together, on and off the pitch. They socialize freely with others that understand them, while building memories and relationships that will make life more enjoyable.

If it’s having each other’s back when playing a different team, or positively influencing each other off the pitch, we believe that affiliation to a group contributes to building self-acceptance and confidence. Belonging should be a feeling that is available to everyone.

Empowerment together

Like football, where the cohesion of the group helps players evolve, we believe that being surrounded by the right people is key. We are responsible for our own progress, yet our development is also closely linked to our environment.

Our club wants to be a place of acceptance for women with learning disabilities and we think that for every person that finds purpose, friendship and joy at our training sessions or matches, the community gains another role model. Being responsible for encouraging empowerment, gives others the courage to do so too.

Photos by Gem Atkinson
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