On a beautiful summer’s day at the end of July, a host of learning disabled participants gathered at Long Lane JFC in Kidbrooke, for the annual South London Special League Summer Fun Day. SLSL works throughout the year to offer people with learning disabilities the chance to play competitive and structured sport. Many people want to get involved in games that are meaningful and where there are winners and losers, with league points to be gained and trophies to be won. There are limited openings for disabled people to take part in this kind of opportunity in any sport at grassroots level, but SLSL is helping to fill the gap.
WNST has been providing funding for the past three years to support “A League of their Own” which offers learning disabled adults the chance to play league football. Participants have come from across south and east London to take part, often because there is nothing similar in their own locality. The Fun Day was a great success and the culmination of an excellent year’s work. Whilst the football tournament was the centrepiece of the day, it is recognised that it’s not everyone’s favourite game, so participants also had the chance to have a go at tennis, cricket and boccia.
The Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Denise Hyland was on hand to see the skill and effort being contributed by all the participants and was very impressed by everyone’s commitment. SLSL’s president, and past Mayor of Greenwich, Cllr Mick Hayes presided over the trophy ceremony, with all who participated being presented with a medal to remember the day by. But there can only be one winner – and congratulations go to Waltham Forest United, who won the cup – but then sportingly donated it to Brighter Horizons, a new team, formerly part of Lewisham Council, which had overcome significant hurdles in order to take part.
The Fun Day followed hot on the heels of the first annual SLSL football tournament for adults with a learning disability or mental ill health, which was held the week before. Seven teams from right across London competed for the title of champions. After some tight competition, Crayside United from LB Bromley ran out winners – so many congratulations to them.
For more about South London Special League, visit www.sl-sl.co.uk