in #KillieStories June 1, 2017
Over 140 primary school children from all over the South West of Scotland took part in a feast of football fun at Rugby Park.
Boys and girls came from North, South and East Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire and even from Glasgow to take part in the 5th annual event.
The event was the brain-child of South Ayrshire based Teacher for the Hearing Impaired, Kenny Fraser. Kenny engaged with the Scottish FA South West Regional Manager John Brown and together they pulled together a wide group of partners to deliver a small local festival for Ayrshire which has since grown into something much bigger. The first event saw 35 players take part but word spread quickly amongst the teachers and parents leading to this year’s much larger Festival. Plans are already in place to expand the event further still next year.
The delivery team consisted of Scottish FA staff, Development Officers and staff from Kilmarnock FC Community Trust, Ayr United Football Academy, KA Leisure, South Lanarkshire Leisure and a brilliant group of students from Ayrshire College. All staff were trained in Deaf Awareness and supported by teachers, parents and support staff from the schools, many of whom were proficient in sign Language.
Also supporting the event were the local and national Deaf Children’s Societies, McDonalds who provided free water and Kilmarnock FC who provided a memorable venue for the children to enjoy.
The coaches and volunteers were all well looked after by parishioners at Kenny Fraser’s church who provided home-backing and hot drinks for all involved.
Kenny Fraser said: “Hearing impaired children are generally educated in mainstream school where they might be the only child with that particular challenge. The Football Festival allows them to come together and play the sport they love while meeting new friends from different schools. We are delighted with our on-going partnership with the Scottish FA that allows the children to have such a brilliant day and memories that will last a lifetime!”
John Brown added: “Many people think of football as solely the professional game but The Scottish FA is also committed to supporting the 95% of people who are involved within the grassroots. We are determined to create “Football for All” through increasing diversity and ensuring that anyone who wants to play has a full range of opportunities to do so. The Deaf Festival is a brilliant example of multiple partner agencies coming together to put smiles on faces of young people who might not otherwise be able to take part. I wish to thank everyone who played a part in making the event such a massive success.”