Spirit of Grassroots Award – Iain Massingham
He also loves playing and watching football but as he has cerebral palsy, his own opportunities were very limited. What started as three people having a kickabout on a Wednesday afternoon has now grown into a 100-strong club. We run three sessions on two days a week and a further session on a third day. The club regularly plays competitive fixtures and is affiliated to the Lancs FA. The Club welcomes players from the age of five, to over 50! Getting active is really important and can be even more so when you have a disability, as there aren’t as many options out there for you. But it’s not just about moving more, AFC Masters is more than that. We’re about friendship, making connections in the community, To compensate for the absence of football, Iain and some of the volunteers have utilised social media to ensure the communal, interactive side of the club continues. It’s been really fun coming up with weekly online meet-ups and different virtual events.
Iain is a truly inspirational and empathetic leader of the Club. The past year has been a big one for him personally, having got married in Nov 2019 and just returned from his honeymoon as the pandemic bit deep, he and his wife had a son in Jan 2021. Obviously devoted to his new wife and baby, he retains a true and deep affection for all our members and never says no to a member or family needing his time or help. But his ambition is wider than just our Club and he wants to see football for people with a disability be one of the means to improve the lot of this section of our society. It’s been hard to be apart and we can’t wait to get back together and kick a ball around, however being part of a flourishing online family brings its own joys. We see our members making friendships they might not have done when just coming to the club, we’ve got players starting their own independent online games groups and we have provided a space for people who, for various reasons might not be able to take part in our football sessions.
We’ll meet again for football, but until then our friendships are flourishing and we’re most definitely having a lot of fun.
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