Our Spotlight Saturday this week is a true believer of ‘anything is possible’. Based in Basildon, Sonny Marra loved playing different sports when he was younger, and has always dreamt of managing his own football team. Born with cerebral palsy which affects his physical movement, Sonny now runs an inclusive sports team and football club for a number of children and adults who also have varying disabilities and special needs.
Sonny tells us: “I had a very normal childhood and was encouraged to be as independent as possible, and that’s how I continue to live my life. I still went to a mainstream school, completed and passed my GCSEs and A Levels, and I also dreamt of having a career in sport.”
The club, Inclusive Sports Ability, started in November 2020 offering types of multisport, which then lead Sonny to start a football team, Inclusive United FC. After merging with Hashtag Utd, they created Hashtag Inclusive Utd in March 2021.
Find Your Active is a great initiative that encourages everyone to get moving and find the right activity for them. Sonny’s clubs help prove that creating communities and opportunities for everyone is truly needed. Not only do they deliver sporting skills and competitive opportunities to those that have struggled to find this elsewhere, but it also provides a community for their families in which they can celebrate their successes.
Living with a disability can sometimes be difficult, however not only does physical activity benefit our physical health and mental wellbeing, but it also reduces social isolation, encourages more independence and confidence, and provides an outlet for people to be themselves.
Sonny always carries positive energy wherever he goes and believes in every individual who attends his clubs. He has worked hard to develop and promote what he does, so that his clubs can reach as many people with special needs and support as possible.
He also explains: “The club has grown over the past 2 years and continues to do so each month. I am very proud of what I’ve created, and I love what I do. These activities are designed to allow young people to express themselves and explore new sports in a safe and non-judgemental environment. It’s amazing to watch these people grow and progress, but most importantly, realise how good they truly are.”
Sonny understands how frustrating it can be to be restricted in the opportunities given to someone with a disability, therefore he strives to make sure that nobody is deprived of sport or opportunities to enjoy physical activity. He’s a huge inspiration to both children and adults who he coaches, and shows them that anything can be achieved if you believe in yourself and work hard.