Winter football tournament to be held for disadvantaged groups from North East

By Ella Jerman

On Thursday 23rd November, Team Durham’s Participation Football volunteering project will hold a winter tournament at Maiden Castle for a range of disadvantaged groups from the North East.

The Participation Football project encourages people from vulnerable populations to incorporate physical activity into their daily life in order to aid their recovery process. Normally, the project runs weekly sessions at Maiden Castle where participants are given the chance to discover a sport they enjoy.

As well as improving their overall physical fitness, attending these sessions gives participants routine and a chance to socialise with their peers. These sessions have proved to have a positive impact on participants, particularly on their mental wellbeing.

Getting involved in team sport increases self-confidence and provides relief from the addiction recovery process.

Not only can attendees improve their physical health and fitness, but getting involved in team sport also increases self-confidence and provides relief from the addiction recovery process.

A wide variety of groups from across the North East have been invited to participate in next Thursday’s tournament, from cities as far away as Leeds to local teams from Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham, Seaham, Middlesbrough and Sunderland. The event usually attracts between eight and ten teams of all ages and genders, ranging from people with learning difficulties to those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Each team will have between 10-12 players in their squad. The tournament will run from 11am to 3pm next Thursday at Maiden Castle, followed by an awards ceremony.

Trophies and medals will be awarded to the winning team, but there are a number of other prizes also up for grabs including goalkeeper of the tournament and the Fair Play award. A particular emphasis is placed upon fair play, namely behaviour towards referees (student vounteers) and teammates during the tournament, rather than just the score. The aim is to encourage positive attitudes, teamwork and sportsmanship.

Project leader Thomas Flint is hoping that next week’s tournament will continue the positive impact that the Participation Football volunteering project has already had on the local community.

He stated: “It should be a great experience for everyone involved and we’re looking forward to seeing who comes out on top in a competitive and enjoyable environment!”

Families are encouraged to attend the event to create a positive atmosphere.

If you are interested in refereeing matches in the tournament, or even helping run the weekly sessions, please contact Thomas at thomas.flint@durham.ac.uk.

Photograph: Durham University

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