A football team stands on a grass field behind a sign that reads "Premier League Disability Football Festival," with eight players in jerseys and two staff members in black jackets.

Last week, Grimsby Town Foundation were invited to take part in a disability tournament, hosted by Middlesbrough FC Foundation.

The Premier League-funded event was for any Community Club Organisation’s (CCO’S) who have a disability provision, whether that be a Premier League Kicks session or a Premier Leage Primary Stars programme.

Our Disability and Inclusion Lead, Jason Land and Premier League Kicks Lead, Mikey Pickett, took a group of SEND students from Cambridge Park Academy from one the Foundation’s Premier League Primary Stars programme.

Teams from all over the North of the country took part in the tournament, including Newcastle, Manchester United, Hull and many more, and Grimsby Town Foundation came second in their respective League.

As well as the football tournament itself, participants took part in fun and engaging workshops around sustainability and health and wellbeing. The Premier League trophy was also there for participants to see and get pictures with.

On the tournament, our Disability and Inclusion Lead, Jason Land said, “It’s amazing that we were invited and had the chance to take a team to play in such a special event. Youth disability football is massively on the rise both locally and nationally.”

“It’s fantastic that after the first ever Premier League youth disability event last year that it was back for a second time. This shows a commitment from the Premier League to support youth disability football and that they see the value in it.”

On the impact of the tournament on the children involved, Land added, “Once the games were under way, our participants realised that they were not playing the badge, but for other people just like them.

Kev Smith, the headteacher of Cambridge Park Academy, who also went along for the event, said “The Grimsby Town foundation project has played a vital role in the holistic development of our students this year.”

“The Premier League event provided an opportunity for our students at CP to showcase their football skills, engage in healthy competition, and foster a sense of community. The young people involved were given the opportunity to adopt values such as fair play, respect, and integrity. Since returning to the academy this has enhanced a sense of pride and unity within the school community.

“The event has also provided a platform for students to demonstrate their football abilities while continuing to motivate students to engage in physical activity and enjoy the benefits of sports.”

We hope everyone involved enjoyed taking part!