PARENTS have praised a city football club for people with disabilities as “confidence boosting” for their children.

The Worcestershire Disability Football Club, which formed in 2004, is now looking for new youngsters to boost reducing numbers at youth level.

The club, which plays on the 3G football pitch at St John’s University Campus in Henwick Grove, has helped youngsters develop life skills.

Kids from six up to 16 can be seen playing on a Sunday morning.

Heather Sarick, who’s six-year-old son Noah Sarick-Garness joined the club a few weeks ago, said: “It has helped already with self esteem and coordination. It really gives him a confidence boost.

“Noah is under assessment for autism, has dyspraxia and other learning difficulties. He loves going to football. He wakes up on a Sunday and he gets really excited – it’s the only thing on his mind.”

Peter Loader, who’s son Thomas has attended the club for a few years and has autism and other learning difficulties, said: “I have taken him to grounds across the country so it is great that he gets the chance to play football himself.

“It helps with his confidence a lot and he loves going. It is good for him to have something fun to look forward to at the weekend.

“One time he scored a penalty and he took his shirt off and ran around the pitch waving it – everyone found that hilarious. It’s about giving him the confidence to do what his heroes do on TV.”

Derek Cunningham MBE, founder of the club, said: “It started after an FA (Football Association) initiative called Ability Counts which aimed to inspire people with disabilities to take up football.

“Myself and another parent decided to start this and we got to charter standard the next year and have been at that level ever since.

“We had 13 to 20 regulars and have built from there. Most of the people in that first group are still playing for the adults side.

“It is crucial for us to emphasise that this is a relaxed and informal environment. Whilst it might be a struggle at first, the skills of teamwork, to become more confident or even learning to take turns with things, can help them in later life. It does not take them long to become part of the group.

“A sporting environment really helps develop a lot of skills.

“The best thing for us is seeing kids who have come here with little confidence, develop their self-esteem. One person from a few years ago came to us and went into mainstream football after.

“We do have lower numbers than we did a few years ago and this has happened across the county. I do not have an answer for why that is.

“We welcome anybody – whatever their disability is, we try to accommodate them and to make sure they can get involved.”

The club welcomes people with various difficulties, including autism and cerebral palsy.

They would also like more coaches to help out at the club.

They will hold an U16 tournament on Sunday May 20, with a team from Herefordshire and Shropshire joining them.