Football club to launch team for visually impaired after donation

From left to right, junior player Ben Rutherford, club chairman Justin Laidler, adult players Nathan Rowe and Shaun Clark, and adult player and coaching assistant Barry Odoherty.
From left to right, junior player Ben Rutherford, club chairman Justin Laidler, adult players Nathan Rowe and Shaun Clark, and adult player and coaching assistant Barry Odoherty.

A football team for players with disabilities is hoping to expand after being handed a cash boost.

South Tyneside Ability FC has been given a £1,537 grant after being nominated by the OGN Group, a contractor to the oil, gas and renewable energy sectors, to receive a donation.

The money will be very useful as we look to expand the club with a team for visually impaired players, and the new kits we have been able to buy look fantastic.

Justin Laidler, South Tyneside Ability FC chairman

The nomination was made through the company’s safety incentive scheme.

The club, founded in 2010, is in the process of launching a team for the visually impaired.

It has also been able to buy two new kits with the cash it was given.

Club chairman Justin Laidler said: “As a club which relies solely on fundraising and volunteering, any support is welcome, and we are very grateful to OGN Group and its staff for the kind donation.

“The money will be very useful as we look to expand the club with a team for visually-impaired players, and the new kits we have been able to buy look fantastic.

“The club has come a long way since we first started out, and as we’re not affiliated with a professional team, this gives us our own identity.

“We are hoping to progress further and, hopefully, create a women’s team too.”

The club was formed by Mr Laidler and coach David Spraggan five years ago to provide access to sport for those with disabilities.

It now has more than 75 members, including 12 coaches and four volunteers. It runs five teams – adult and junior sides, two seven-a-side ones and the new one for visually-impaired players.

It is also hoping to set up a women’s team.

Last year, the club was nominated for the title of team of the year at the North East Disability Sports Awards.

OGN Group chief executive David Edwards said: “Working in a safe environment is at the core of our business, and with the support of our clients and the fantastic efforts of our workforce, we have been able to support many worthy local causes through the safety incentive scheme.

“We are delighted to support South Tyneside Ability FC through the scheme, and I would like to wish the club all the best for the rest of the season and in the future.”

For more information about the club, contact Mr Laidler on 07963 240 976 or e-mail southtynesideabilityfc@yahoo.com