AFG Stalybridge Celtic goes from strength to strength

A football team of service users formed by Alternative Futures Group (AFG) Support Workers on Tameside is going from strength to strength.

Support workers Sean McCarron and James Paul set up the Stalybridge Celtic AFG football team last February. Their aim was to help young adults transitioning from children’s services to adult services by building their confidence, social skills, team building and discipline.

Sean said:” The team helps them be part of a family which some of the players haven’t experienced before.

“You can’t beat seeing the enjoyment on their faces when they achieve something like a fair player award or when one of them gets injured and the other players come over to offer their support”. On the pitch they are just regular members of a football team and not people who have a learning disability”.

The team’s main sponsors are AFG and housing provider JIGSAW. Sean and James are also kept busy organising fund-raising events for the team.  Stalybridge Celtic AFG, which includes service users from Somerset House and St Ann’s House, is now top of the Power League, guided by Sean and James.

And service user Nathan Hoyle from Somerset House manages what has become to be known as the Stayleybridge Ability team’s website and their Facebook page.

Both Sean and James received a £20 Credit Where It’s Due voucher from AFG for their outstanding work but selflessly decided not to keep it and invested it back into the team.

Team leader at Somerset House supported living Andrea Doherty said: “This is a tremendous achievement. Sean and James, as well as our service users, should be congratulated for all their hard work and dedication.

“I’d also like to thank Mike Smith from the Stalybridge Foundation for allowing our lads to train with them, helping them build their confidence. Also, for introducing us to The Cheshire East Ability league in Stockport which means we can now play league games every month.”

“The football team was set up to encourage everyone from across AFG and their friends to come together so we’re planning future friendly matches with teams from across AFG.  It truly is living one of AFG’s values – ‘we are one’.”