Steve Hammond, father of Richard, has spoken of the amazing opportunities his son has explored through Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s ShrewsAbility.
Through the Every Player Counts programme funded by Wembley National Stadium Trust and EFL Trust, the ShrewsAbility Down’s syndrome football scheme creates a multi-tier learning environment that improves the participants’ overall physical, social and emotional health.
Richard Hammond has been a regular ShrewsAbility member since the sessions first launched in 2016.
“Before taking part, Richard struggled to trap or strike a ball properly. It’s amazing to see the difference and how much he has developed, he’s so comfortable at doing these things now and has built his intelligence of the game.
“I feel so happy and grateful to see my son enjoy playing football just like I did when I was younger.
“Not only has he enhanced his football skills, he’s also formed new friendships and his self-esteem has improved.
“These sessions make you look at what everyone is able to do and not what they can’t – you see people’s abilities, not their disability.”
Apart from football, Richard is also an avid gymnast and swimmer and in 2011 he represented Team GB at the Special Olympics in Athens, winning two Silver Medals and one Bronze Medal in artistic gymnastics.
Since ShrewsAbility launched, the session has had an aggregate attendance of 464 participants across all disability sessions.
95% of participants have stated that there has been an improvement in their mental well being since attending the sessions.