Able2Do Anything: Sports

Joey Essex visits football team for disabled youngsters

Joey Essex with Hamilton on a football pitch

Joey Essex has taken time out from his TV commitments to visit a football club for disabled youngsters supported by a national tabloid.

The reality star met Hamilton on the pitch, a six-year-old lad who has developmental difficulties which has knocked his confidence.

It’s a huge step for the young player. Just five months ago we struggled to put one step in front of the other, but now he’s shooting balls into the goal.

Hamilton is one of the children who benefits from the amazing work carried out at Broomfield Football Club, which is being supported by The Sun’s Footie For All fund.

Essex, 33, told the paper: “It’s amazing to be here tonight and meet such a great group of kids.

“They’re clearly really enjoying themselves and most are really passionate about it, just like Hamilton.

“Everyone who wants a chance to play football should always have it.

“All the children here get to play for free, and it’s so important they get the opportunity.

“I love that it’s in Essex, and getting to hand out their new kit was amazing.”

The club, based in Chelmsford, provides free weekly football sessions for disabled children, including youngsters with autism and cerebral palsy aged six to eleven.

Most of the kids have been isolated from games played by their friends, but at Broomfield they are on a level playing field.

Hamilton’s mum Skye said: “Coming here has quite literally been life changing for Hamilton and me.

“They’ve helped with his mobility more than the hospital has been able to.

“But it’s more than just that. They’ve given us something to bond over, and football is now all he talks about.

“His teachers have told me that he’s always getting friends at school or other clubs to get involved and be more confident.”

Even though some of the children have never watched Joey in The Only Way is Essex they did recognise him from a certain TV game show.

“I came down tonight to put a smile on the kids' faces, and I was amazed that some of them knew me from Blankety Blank,” Essex told the publication.

“It’s so important that everyone can play football, no matter what their background is.

“It’s great to be here, seeing them doing something they truly love.”

All the players received a brand new team strip funded by local art business Quantus Gallery, owned by James Ryan.

Ryan said: “It’s a pleasure to sponsor the new kit for Broomfield FC.

“When I heard about the Footie For All Campaign I wanted to support in whatever way I could.

“Helping an Essex team makes it extra special for me.”

The team’s coach Nick Emery, said: “The kids have really warmed to Joey and have loved that he’s come down to play with them.

“Some of these players that come with us tonight might have tried to try with mainstream teams, and just found they need a bit of extra attention and can get lost in mainstream teams.

“We have this session to make sure we meet some of their additional needs and to make sure we’re fully inclusive as a football club.

“It’s just lovely to see how their faces light up every time they arrive for a session.

“It’s the biggest bit of their week.

“They’ve all gone on to make friends and their parents have told us just how much they love it.

“The grant from The Sun and Tesco will help us pay for some facility costs, staff training coaches training to help improve our skills in terms of being able to provide the best possible sessions for the kids and if we have any left over we’d like to do some team building activities with the team.”

[ Around twenty children every week play on the football team ]

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