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Inclusive United Community Interest Company | Hertfordshire, UK
Inclusive Culture Initiative

Inclusive United Community Interest Company was set up in September 2023 with the aim to inspire, empower and improve the lives of young adults with learning disabilities in Hertfordshire, through sport. Inclusive United was kicked into action after experiencing first-hand the frustrations with what was on offer for one of our founders, 19 year old Thomas Light. Thomas, who has Down\'s Syndrome, has always loved sport but found that access to playing and socialising got even more limited as he became a young adult. Our range of sessions are delivered weekly during the daytime, and include: Football, Futsal, Multi-sports, Sports & Social Hub (half day) and wellbeing (yoga inspired). We also share a passion of encouraging more females into sport, and so launched a weekly Women’s Walking Football group. Improving confidence and self-esteem through teamwork and interaction are some of our main objectives and we are already seeing the positive influence we are having, which has been incredibly rewarding. Those who often feel socially isolated are now meeting others, making friends and feeling part of a community, all whilst having fun. All of our activities focus on positivity, a sense of belonging with a can-do and supportive ethos from our trained and experienced coaches. The well-known physical health benefits of regularly taking part in sport go hand-in-hand with reducing stress, depression and anxiety. Thomas is currently on a supported internship with us, and we therefore already see ourselves being a provider for other young individuals with learning disabilities to gain valuable experience within the sport sector. Both his confidence and skills have profoundly grown as he assists coaching in our Futsal sessions; in which he had originally suggested the idea for, and since has become our most popular session to date – averaging 25 players weekly.

Full of experience and (lots of!) enthusiasm, our team certainly are the driving force in creating our positive, inclusive, and supportive environment. Both Tracy and Hannah lead pan disability football for over 100 players at St Albans City Youth FC. Hannah, Founder & Director of coaching also works at Tottenham Hotspur as an ETC coach for the Women’s Academy. An ex semi-pro footballer for Spurs U21 & Watford, she now competes in the Women’s National Tier 1 Futsal series and was also named Hertfordshire FA Disability Coach of the Year 2023. Hannah supports another CIC to deliver women’s football and she holds experience in a SEN school. Founder & Managing director Tracy is a well-known figure and role model for inclusive sport in Hertfordshire. She was the secretary for Hertfordshire Youth Inclusive Football League for more than 7 years until earlier this year and has links across Herts in sport. She is a valued member of the Inclusion Advisory Group at Hertfordshire FA and was one of the 3 finalists for the Community Champion of the Year at the St Albans Mayor\'s Pride Awards 2024. Martina, Founder and our director of people has a strong background in playing, coaching and managing football and is a long-term supporter and advocate for inclusive sport. Passionate about female sport, Martina is the Head of the Girls Section at Berkhamsted Raiders FC and manager of the U15\'s. Nick, another inclusive champion, runs Fighting Fit Football, a football club for individuals with Parkinson’s. Nick and Fighting Fit Football won the FA National Project of the Year in 2022, a fantastic achievement. Inclusive United is also honoured to have been nominated for the FA National Grassroots Club of the Year Award 2024. We are lucky to have a growing interest in coaches and volunteers joining our team and acting on previous negative experiences working within football, our staff are passionate about creating opportunities for female coaches in a supportive and inclusive environment.

Alongside our big visions, our CIC has achieved a fair amount in such a short space of time. Inclusive United have been invited to several conferences, event stalls and in particular we were asked to deliver a presentation to a large group of staff attending a Herts Inclusion training day. Furthermore, as well as partnerships, receiving free sports products and gaining a large following on social media platforms, it is great to see Inclusive United becoming well known in our county. We have also successfully secured two sponsorships from large businesses in the area; who each sponsor one of our sessions in which their generous support enables the smooth continuity of our work and also allows every player to receive a kit - really giving them that sense of community and belonging to. An additional company sponsored our coaching kit, providing our staff with a professional looking fit for all weather that is personalised to a high quality.

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