Macksville Falcons to launch 'All Abilities' touch football program

The Macksville Falcons Touch Football Club is one of the largest sporting organisations in the Nambucca Valley, and it truly is a family-oriented club; it prides itself on catering to a wide range of community members.

But at the most recent state conference, club president Craig Englert was presented with an opportunity to take that diverse involvement up one notch further.

The Falcons are one of six clubs in NSW (18 Australia-wide), which have been chosen to launch Touch Football Australia's new 'All Abilities' program - "a completely inclusive program that provides opportunities for people with intellectual or physical impairments to learn touch football skills" and become active members of the sporting community.

"I nominated us because I just wanted to get everyone involved in the Valley," Craig said.

Over the course of eight weeks from mid-January 2020, local participants will be coached through drills, skills-based games, and short matches by the club's coaches, committee members, representative players and other interested Falcons.

Three local disability services organisations have jumped at the chance to participate in the launch, and on Thursday the Falcons met some of their newest club-mates.

Bill Sturgeon, Nick Montgomery, Trish Button, Hayley Ramunno and Lisa Brockway all slipped on their new club shirts and got a taste of what the program has in store for them.

Each of the new athletes took to the field with gusto, and their enthusiasm was infectious, with smiles from ear to ear on all involved.

There's a place on the field for everyone.

For some of the newbies, mastering the rules of the game will be a challenge, with one young gun proving his ability to kick the football clear across the field - an enviable skill, but not one usually applied in touch football.

Others took to the drills like ducks to water, and by the end of the short meet-up were already diving the ball over the try line.

"It's so great to see ability being celebrated today, instead of focussing on disability," one of the carers said.

The program is funded as a result of a participation grant from the Sport Australia 'Move it Aus' program, and all equipment and training is supplied to clubs.

And it's clearly a win-win scenario for all involved - participating Falcon members are also getting the chance to develop their interpersonal skills.

There's also an All Abilities division registered for this year's State Cup in Port Macquarie.

While December might be too soon to get the club's newest initiates up to scratch for state competition, Craig is excited about the possibilities for next year with his steadily expanding flock.

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