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Finn Byrne explains how the Ealing community has been pulled together by former Brentford F.C player, Allan Cockram, in his efforts to make children of all abilities enjoy the beautiful game.

Far too often those with Down Syndrome find it hard to find places that will allow them to join a team sport and exercise with other children. Hero volunteers make sure this isn’t the case in Ealing through an extraordinary charity football team.

The Brentford Penguins FC were founded by Vickie Smith and Allan Cockram, the pair cater for down syndrome youth players, no matter their needs or ability. The club was set up following a long term dream of Allan’s to support the kids in the sporting world.

They train in Gunnersbury Park and have been donated kits and equipment from Brentford F.C and their players. The club was created in 2017 and has benefited dozens of children from Brentford and Ealing.

Allan Cockram, 57, former Brentford FC player, said: “I don’t like using these fancy words but the process from creation to where the club is at now has been an organic one.”

“Each child has their own fantastic personality and they are all unique. It’s just about tapping into each child’s mind and finding things that work for them. We use a lot of sensory and visual help and take kids of all levels of disability in the DS world.”

“I promised myself I would do something to help down syndrome children as a friend had a son who had DS and football helped him so much.”

“If you look at most DS clubs, such as the Premier League ones, they only deal with the most able who can think about positions, shooting and have a lot more footballing awareness. That’s how we’re different because we don’t discriminate.”

“Any child with DS, whatever their severity of disability, is allowed to join us and take part with all the other kids. I set up the club within a week. I did my badges and learnt from DS qualified instructors on how to deal with and look after the kids.”

“What’s amazing is that I now have the wiser DS  community coming to assist coaching and learning the skills to teach their peers. It’s amazing to see this and this is what I really wanted from the start.”

“I am very proud of them.”

“We are running a summer camp for the children and have been inundated with community support.”

“People are assisting with providing food and offers of help and it’s great to see the community come together and support the Down syndrome community.”

The Brentford Penguins have been supported by new Premier League team Brentford FC and they plan to have some of the first team players to meet the kids in the near future.

We train every Sunday throughout the year and all DS kids are encouraged to go down and take part.

To find out more and if you want to support the club then you can follow this link to keep up to date with the penguins: https://www.brentfordpenguinsfc.com

Go Fund Me Page: https://www.brentfordpenguinsfc.com/donations

If you would like to support us another way they can buy something from our online shop and all profits come straight back to us: https://www.brentfordpenguinsfc.com/shop

If you would like to contact the club email: [email protected]