We think that grassroots football should be for everyone. That’s a view shared by the dedicated volunteers at Barnstaple Ability FC, and the reason why they were awarded one of our five Kitlocker.com Grassroots Grants.

Barnstaple Ability FC are a club from North Devon, founded in 2012 and devoted to ensuring those with disabilities and other additional needs have the chance to enjoy the beautiful game as much as the rest of us. The club is 37 players strong and growing. Those players are split over five teams who compete in the Devon Ability Counts League, as well as in monthly tournaments.

Getting involved with the club is about more than just playing football though, as volunteer Melanie Regan describes “Already this year we have held cycling events to celebrate the Tour of Britain coming to Barnstaple with players using trikes, bikes and recumbent cycles to cycle along the local Tarka Trail. We also arranged a club trip to The Emirates to see Arsenal Legends take on Real Madrid Legends in conjunction with The Arsenal Foundation. A brilliant day enjoyed by everyone.”

barnstaple ability grassroots cycle

Ability football is flourishing in Devon, with 45 registered teams across the county “We are fortunate to be part of a very forward thinking Ability Counts League in Devon. This provides competitive footballing opportunities monthly for over 200 players with additional needs. There is a league for every player regardless of their ability.  There is also a league for juniors and we have had over 500 people at tournament days. They really are amazing days to be part of. We all keep flying the Ability Counts flag, within our communities, on social media, with our FA and any other opportunity such as this competition.”

Melanie hopes to continue expanding the club whilst also spreading the word about ability football far and wide. They would also like to run their own ability tournament in the near future.

For Melanie and the rest of the volunteers, being part of the club is a rewarding experience which stretches beyond football “Our teams have so much fun and to be a part of The Barny Army is truly uplifting and seeing what people can achieve is awesome. The best thing for me is seeing the fun everyone has playing a sport they love. I get as much out of volunteering at the club as the players get from playing.”

We are delighted to award Barnstaple Ability with a Kitlocker.com Grassroots grant and we’re sure that it will be put to good use. Keep up the good work guys!

To find out more about Barnstaple Ability FC click here.