Ipswich wheelchair football club call on regional charities to apply for funding from Comic Relief’s Community Cash fund

The Charioteers Wheelchair Football Club which received funds from the Comic Relief-linked event, Sp

The Charioteers Wheelchair Football Club which received funds from the Comic Relief-linked event, Sports Relief - Credit: Lucy taylor

Suffolk’s only wheelchair football club has urged other charitable groups to apply for funding after receiving £1,000 last year.

Simon O’Brien-Ellington, chairman and coach of Ipswich Charioteers Wheelchair Football Club, said the funding boost enabled the club to keep going last year.

Established in 2007, the club is now based at Inspire Suffolk in Lindbergh Road, Ipswich, and provides two-hour sessions for around a dozen wheelchair-bound members and their carers.

They are held on Saturdays when Ipswich Town are not playing at home.

Mr O’Brien-Ellington said: “The Comic Relief funding helped us to keep going and we would like to thank them.

“It costs £100 a month to hire the hall and so it kept us going last year.

“Our existence is based on donations – we go on collection days around town – and I would definitely advise all other groups to go for the funding.

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“Don’t be shy, if you don’t put it in, you will never get it. In the past we thought when we looked at the paperwork ‘we won’t get anything from them’ but we have, so it is definitely worthwhile applying.”

The club was formed when Mr O’Brien-Ellington’s wife, Claire, suffered an accident while she was training with the Suffolk Special Constabulary. She had to start using a wheelchair after developing spinal arthritis.

Currently, 12 people with electric-powered wheelchairs turn up to the fun football sessions. Mr O’Brien-Ellington, 45, said each participant gains a range of skills and improves their confidence by taking part.

He said: “They all really enjoy it and it really helps them a lot. It helps them with their communication because it is a team sport and you have to communicate. It helps them with their concentration and it is an ‘active’ sport for them, depending of course on what type of physical disability they have.

“One of the members was really shy but playing helped him come out of his shell.”

For more about the club, visit www.icwfc.co.uk, email ipswich.charioteers@hotmail.co.uk or call 07786 062656.