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Supporting families during lockdown: Daniel’s story

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For many of the people Albion in the Community works with, support during the period of lockdown has been vitally important. People like Daniel Passey-Stone, who has been a part of the charity’s football session for people with Down’s syndrome for eight years, having first started as a seven-year-old.

As an energetic sports fan, Daniel has benefited hugely from the chance to play football on a regular basis, learn new skills, and make new friends. The support Daniel and his family have received from the charity’s experienced coaches has proved invaluable.

With in-person sessions temporarily suspended during the different lockdowns, Albion in the Community’s coaches have done what they can to support their regular participants; wellbeing catch-ups, group fitness sessions on Zoom, online activities, and food deliveries have all been offered to participants and their families.

Lockdown has proved particularly hard for Daniel and his family and being unable to play football with his friends at Albion in the Community certainly has an impact on him. As his dad, Guy Passey, explained, however, the family has been impressed with the support the charity has been able to offer its participants. He said: “Albion in the Community was very creative in lockdown and really connected with participants; the pastoral support (personal Zoom calls and check-ins) was phenomenal to see.”

The real turning point for Daniel, however, was the return of his beloved football before Christmas and the new lockdown restrictions, with Albion in the Community adapting sessions to make them as safe as possible and implementing a raft of new measures to reassure participants and their parents. “We were so grateful for football coming back and how well things were run,” said his dad. “Being back face-to-face with other people, that social side of it has been huge for him and for us it’s been a godsend.”

It is clear football means an awful lot to Daniel. But why has it become so important to him and his family in the years since he attended that first session aged seven? His dad explained: “It’s so nice to drop Daniel off at sessions and be able to step back and let him be independent. It means he has an experience and sense of autonomy away from us as his parents.

“We’ve seen him grow as a young man through that and his ability to arrive and just get on with things and listen to his coaches, it’s making him more grown-up, more responsive to teaching, and he doesn’t mess about like he used to.

“He loves football with Albion in the Community to the extent we now often do two sessions in one day.

“We’ve always had an attitude of wanting to try everything for Daniel. We recognised the importance as parents of bringing him consistently and providing him with that routine of attending.

“The coaches are there every week, whatever the weather, and it’s just been brilliant.”

One of those coaches is Phil Broom, Albion in the Community’s disability clubs development officer. He has seen for himself how much Daniel has progressed on and off the pitch during his time with the charity.

“Daniel is an absolute pleasure to coach,” said Phil. “Our coaches all love working with him and regularly comment on how well he is doing and how much he is developing.

“We’ve seen so much growth from Daniel over the years and he and his family should be incredibly proud of how well he has done.

And does Daniel’s dad have a message for Albion in the Community and coaches like Phil?

“The coaches have been exemplary,” he said. “I know that if we keep making an effort, then Albion in the Community will make a massive effort back.

“I can’t thank the charity enough; it’s brilliant.”

To find out more about how Albion in the Community is supporting people during the current lockdown visit here.

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