BARNSTAPLE ABILITY FOOTBALL CLUB CELEBRATE TOUR OF BRITAIN

This is a press release from North Devon Council.

An event has been held by Barnstaple Ability Football Club to celebrate the Tour of Britain’s visit to North Devon recently, thanks to a grant from North Devon Council.

In the approach to the Tour of Britain travelling through North Devon, £3,000 of funds were made available by North Devon Council for any local community group or schools who wanted to get involved and celebrate the Tour. Barnstaple Ability FC used their grant of £200 to hold two events for their squad, including a Tour of Britain-themed football session and social, and a cycle along the Tarka Trail with players and their families. The club is made up of players over 16 with any additional needs, including sensory impairment, physical disability, learning difficulties and mental health issues.

At their football session on Thursday 30 August, the squad were encouraged to cycle to training, and afterwards spent time together enjoying a burger and the company of their family and friends. 45-50 people participated in the event, with people cycling to training from Abbotsham, Bideford, South Molton and Barnstaple to the club’s Tews Lane training ground at Bickington. At the club’s next event on Saturday 1 September, 20 cyclists from the football club set off from Barnstaple train station along the Tarka Trail to celebrate cycling and the Tour of Britain coming to North Devon, with refreshments along the way. Participants, who have a variety of additional needs including Down Syndrome, autism, learning difficulties, dyspraxia and mental health issues, used a variety of bikes to cycle along the trail to Bideford with stops at Fremington and Instow.

Melanie Regan, a volunteer coach and the chairperson for Barnstaple Ability Football Club, says: “We would like to thank North Devon Council, whose Tour of Britain grant made this event possible and meant that everyone, regardless of ability, was able to participate and enjoy cycling and celebrating the Tour coming to town. We are also grateful to Shelley’s Snacks, who provided the delicious food at our football social. Our events demonstrated that cycling is for everyone, with participants varying in age from five to sixty years old.”

North Devon Council’s Executive member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We are so pleased that we were able to help our local communities get involved in the run-up to the Tour of Britain’s visit to North Devon. The events held by the Barnstaple Ability Football Club clearly brought joy to a lot of individuals, and encouraged people to get on their bikes and get fit, whatever their age and ability. We are very proud of how the people of North Devon welcomed the Tour to our beautiful district and hope our residents thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of the build-up and the big day.”

For more information about joining the Barnstaple Ability Football Club please contact Melanie Regan on 07764 767955 or by email to melanieregan7@icloud.com. Training takes place every Thursday at 5.45pm at various locations.