Tranmere Rovers awarded Cheshire FA’s Disability Club of the Year title

Tranmere Rovers has been awarded the Disability Club of the Year accolade at the Cheshire FA’s annual awards ceremony on Friday.

Tranmere Rovers in the Community host disability football sessions for both adults and juniors at Prenton Park Recreation Centre each week, as well as the Premier League Unified Kicks session which is inclusive of all genders and disabilities.

Tranmere has four disability teams that take part in the Cheshire Ability Counts Football League tournaments, an accredited PAN Disability Football League in Cheshire.

The club also has disability provision which isn’t team-based such as the disability day centre and school visits.

On a matchday, the Club has various facilities for supporters with different disabilities including a quiet room for people with Tourette’s Syndrome, stoma-friendly toilets in each stand, and friendly and accommodating Supporter Liaison Officers who are willing to assist disabled supporters with any issues regarding their matchday experience at Prenton Park.

The Beechwood Recreation Centre features a sensory room and staff trained to work with people with disabilities, also hosting disability-specific sessions.

Leon, aged 12, who takes part in the Unified Kicks sessions, attended the ceremony and went up to receive the award on behalf of the Club.

Leon has come a long way since first attending the sessions in 2018, when he was home-schooled and the session was the only time he would leave the house during the week. He has developed into a confident young man, and now helps newcomers to the session settle in and feel comfortable.

He was confident enough to deliver a fantastic acceptance speech at the awards ceremony and received a standing ovation, with some of those in attendance moved to tears.

Leon said, “I would like to thank the Cheshire FA for awarding us Disability Club of the Year. I also thank my coaches at Tranmere for choosing me to speak on behalf of them. It is truly an honour for my family and Tranmere.

“At Tranmere, we do multiple football sessions with many disabilities. My friends have different and varying disabilities, for example, autism, cerebral palsy, and ADHD. I’m one of the autistic kids at Tranmere.

“It isn’t just the kids and adults that make Tranmere the Disability Club of the Year, it’s the coaches as well. My coaches, Faye, Louise and Corey are so helpful and they assist us in so many ways. Without our coaches, we wouldn’t be growing our football skills exponentially.

“I would like to talk about my friend Mason. Mason is a fantastic player who has been training with us for many years and was recently picked for the England Youth squad. Tranmere are so proud of him. Mason is an extraordinary footballer and a great person in general.

“I’m thirteen years old and I’ve been coming to Tranmere for five years. It isn’t just my football skills that have improved, it’s my social skills as well. I recently started school again in 2021 because I was home-schooled for many years. 

“I’ve received many accolades as well since starting school, which I am extremely proud of. I go to a special sports college and I’ve been awarded student council as well. My family and I couldn’t be more happy.”

Faye Jones, Disability Officer at Tranmere Rovers in the Community, said, “As a Club, we are so proud to be recognised for our disability provision. We have four teams who compete regularly in the Cheshire FA Ability Counts League and train weekly. 

“We are proud that their dedication, hard work, and exemplary attitudes have been recognised with this accolade.”

Image: TRFC

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