Cambridge United Community Trust

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Sun Football Video: The power of Amputee Football!

We'd love you to check out a video made by The Sun Football on one of our Amputee Football participants, Kiera, and the effect the sessions have on her.

Amputee Football Match-day Takeover!

Cambridge United Community Trust were delighted to host our amputee football team for a short demonstration of their skills on the pitch at the home game vs Exeter City FC on the 21st August!

Before the match, our amputees also had the opportunity to meet the first-team players in the dressing room and 2 of our younger amputees were matchday mascots, walking out with the teams onto the pitch. The amputees’ families are a crucial part of the football sessions we run and so we were delighted to be able to have some of the amputees’ sons, daughters & siblings along to be mascots too.

Our sessions are run in partnership with Cambridgeshire FA and Steel Bones, a charity who a working to connect the amputee community. They offer support to new amputees, and their families - providing the guidance and companionship that they so often need, at an incredibly traumatic time. We were delighted to invite them along to hold a bucket collection. The money raised from this will be used to provide families with an opportunity to go horse-riding.

Alongside the demonstration game, one of the amputees Marc Pitman was also recognised as Community Hero of the Day. Marc was part of a group of amputees to ascend Mount Snowdon raising an incredible £12,000 for Steel Bones. Marc said about the climb: “I have never allowed my 'disability' to define me as a person and I saw Mount Snowdon as yet another challenge. It was life changing for all involved!”

Special mention must go to Paul Clark, the ‘Team Snowdon Leader’ who unfortunately couldn’t be here for the match-day takeover, but who led the team fantastically. He said: “this adventure was about getting a group of amputees together to show we are no different to other people and we can achieve anything we set our minds to.”

From their amputee football sessions launch in February 2018: they've grown to create an inclusive, welcoming community where amputees and their families can play football together in sessions led by Cambridge United Community Trust’s Disability Sports Officer Phil Mullen.

Funded by Cambridgeshire FA, the aim of the sessions is to provide all amputees, people with congenital limb deficiencies and persons with restricted use of limbs, with the opportunity to play football. The sessions are open to people of all age groups and abilities.

Leigh Joy-Staines, one of the founders of Steel Bones, says “Steel Bones UK is all about getting amputees back into community life, and these football sessions help to do just that!”

For more information on the sessions’ dates & timing please visit: http://www.cuctrust.co.uk/disability-sport/amputee-football/

For more information about our wonderful partner charity, Steel Bones, please visit: http://steelbone.co.uk/

Walking Football update

When you see the U’s endlessly running up and down the pitch, it’s easy to think: ‘I could never do that. I’m too old/unfit/untalented.’ This lack of confidence can stop people from even lacing up their trainers. At Cambridge United Community Trust, our Health programme is designed to engage people in sport, no matter their ability or (lack of) previous experience; one of our regular sessions is Walking Football.

Our Walking Football sessions take place every Thursday from 11am – 12pm at the Abbey Leisure Complex, followed by lunch at the Abbey Arms at the stadium. When the sessions began, they consisted of short football drills, but as the participants’ fitness has improved, the sessions start with a warm-up before getting into 5-a-side matches. The recent hot weather has also not been a deterrent – a recent session had 20 people attending!

The ‘Ambling Amber Army’, as they are known, has also played against other teams, including the FA People’s Cup earlier this year. They had a great tournament, beginning with three victories, before conceding two and drawing one.

Derek Wall is a regular attendee at Walking Football. When asked about his experiences, he said that the best part of the group is ‘meeting up with other people’ and that ‘you often find that there’s connections’. Derek also said that Walking Football has helped him because his arms and legs are stronger, which allowed him to walk up volcanoes and mountains on his last holiday!

Andrew Stephen is another attendee who is full of praise for the sessions. He said: ‘it is a very supportive environment and it’s very good for your health too’.

Cambridge City Council also came to one of our sessions; to see our players in action, make sure to watch their video here:

Walking Football is organised by Phil Mullen, the Disability Officer for Cambridge United Community Trust. He said: 'I really enjoy coaching the walking football sessions. It’s fantastic to see players developing not only from a physical point of view i.e learning new football skills and improving health & fitness, But also from a mental health and wellbeing side. It’s great to see players growing in confidence and forming new friendships.'

Our Walking Football sessions are mixed-gender and open to all over 50s, irrespective of ability or experience. If you would like to get involved in Walking Football, please contact communitytrust@cambridge-united.co.uk.

Trust receives council grant to launch a stadium fitness programme

Cambridge United Community Trust is delighted to announce that we have been awarded a grant from Cambridge City Council to set up a stadium fitness programme at the Abbey Stadium. This programme will provide free fitness sessions for the local community, led by a qualified instructor from Full Circle Fitness Bootcamps. Session activities will use the features of the Abbey Stadium in an innovative way – think using the stands for stair workouts, the space behind the goal for shuttle runs and the hospitality rooms for circuit training!

Although Cambridge is home to the richest university in Britain, it is also the UK’s 2nd most unequal city. For example, the Abbey Ward (where the stadium is located) is among the 20% of most deprived wards in the country. The Cambridge City Council 2014-2017 Anti-Poverty Strategy has demonstrated the close relationship between low incomes and poorer health outcomes in the city: ‘life expectancy for women 10 years [is] lower in the most deprived area of Cambridge than the least deprived, and 9.6 years lower for men’.[1] This demonstrates the need for affordable exercise programmes in Cambridge.

In light of this research, the Community Trust has launched the stadium fitness programme with the aim of removing some of the economic barriers that prevent Abbey Ward residents from taking part in regular exercise. Participants that join our programme will have the opportunity to develop healthier lifestyles, improve their mental well-being and create a greater sense of community. The stadium fitness programme is in line with the Community Trust’s wider commitment to providing services for the people of Abbey Ward, the home of Cambridge United since 1932.

Simon Wall, Community Liaison Officer for the Community Trust, said:

“To be able to access quality fitness programmes in Cambridge, whether that be by buying a gym membership or by joining an organised bootcamp group, it often costs a lot of money, which is not inclusive. It is therefore the Community Trust’s vision to help as many people as possible to have access to affordable fitness groups, which is why we created ‘Stadium Fitness’.

I am excited that the Trust are able to offer the residents of Abbey Ward another opportunity to get fit, make new friends and strengthen the bond further between Cambridge United and the local community.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get quality fitness instruction without breaking the bank.”

The stadium fitness programme is open to everyone of all ages and abilities, and it will be starting on Wednesday 12th September. For more information, please contact our Community Liaison Officer, Simon Wall, at simon.wall@cambridge-united.co.uk.

[1] Executive Summary Anti-Poverty Strategy https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Executive%20Summary%20APS.pdf

Do your shopping at Tescos? Commit to the Trust at the same time!!

Cambridge United Community Trust is bidding to bag a vital cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative!

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, which sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores awarded to local community projects.

Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Cambridge United Community Trust is one of the groups on the shortlist. The potential funding will help our Down Syndrome Football sessions enormously to continue to grow and develop further!

Every Saturday morning, football players with Down’s syndrome come to Impington Village College Sports Centre to play football in a safe and friendly environment.
The sessions have become so popular that the sports hall is divided into two halves based on age. Parents and Siblings are encouraged to join in with the football which gives an opportunity for families to spend quality time together. Our Disability Sports Officer, Phil Mullen runs the session and is assisted by volunteers from the football sessions he runs for people with cerebral palsy.

A disabled person is still half as likely to play sport as a non-disabled person and Down’s Syndrome is no exception within this. As a society, we should seek to challenge and change this trend so that we can enable disabled people to view taking part in sport as a practical lifestyle choice. We have seen the way that taking part can develop the players’ self-esteem and confidence.

This funding is needed to allow the project to continue because although the participants pay a small fee, it does not cover the costs. Increasing the fees would put up a barrier to participation and so is not something we would want to consider.

Voting is open in all Tesco stores in August and customers can cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop!

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £52 million to more than 16,000 projects up and down the UK. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

Alec Brown, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers. It’s such a special scheme because it’s local people who decide how the money will be spent in their community. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”

The Bags of Help tokens are in these Tesco stores:

East Road Tesco Express, CB11BG

Newmarket Road Superstore, CB5 8HE

Clifton Road Tesco Express, CB17DZ

Cherry Hinton Tesco Express CB19HU

Chesterton Tesco Express, CB41NX

Fulborun Cherry Hinton Superstore, CB19BF

Great Shelford Tesco Express, CB225EY

Hills Road Tesco Express CB21NW

Mill Road Tesco Express, CB13AN