The aim of Soccability is to provide coaching and competition tailored for disabled children and adults with wide-ranging football abilities and includes a variety of training drills and specialist equipment for different disabilities.

There is a strong desire to keep the Soccability movement growing in Essex and to this end, the Soccability League and the Essex football Association came together to talk about upskilling new volunteers to support league teams across the county. They agreed that a new Inclusive FA Level 1 Course in Coaching Football would be the way forward – specifically targeting those with a disability/impairment or those wanting to work within the disability game.

Prior to the course, a taster event enabled those interested in attending to meet each other, the tutor and FA Coach mentors – reducing anxiety and enabling participants to ask relevant questions before committing. Also tutors were able to assess participants ensuring they had the required skills and knowledge to attend under 1st 4 Sports criteria.

The course took place in Colchester and throughout the 11-week programme participants built their confidence and abilities. The indoor venue provided good wheelchair access and created a better environment for those with a hearing impairment. The overall cost to participants was reduced with financial support from Active Essex and the Essex County Football Association.

All 14 learners successfully passed and are now working as coaches in their clubs. They continue to be supported by FA Coach Mentors on their coaching journey and have been offered the chance to attend a Coaching Disabled Footballers course.

One participant said: “I wanted to do the course to improve myself as a football coach and person. To build my self-confidence and knowledge and progress to my Level 2 in a year or so’s time – eventually coaching my own team in the future.”

Hayley Chapman, Active Essex Lead for Inclusion said: “This course proved very popular with participants and we are delighted that the candidates have gone on to get involved in their community clubs. We think that the partners working together to tailor our approach and involve participants and carers throughout was key to making it a success.”