The players went to see the Community Trust in action at the school
As a part of the EFL Day of Action going on across all 72 EFL clubs, Town captain Scott Cuthbert was accompanied by Olly Lee and Dan Potts to Challney High School for Boys to see one of the Luton Town Community Trust’s current programmes in action.
Community Trust coach Luke Hyde takes ten children from Challney Boys aside each week who have special educational needs, taking them through some football drills and giving them the opportunity to play the sport they love – an opportunity they may not get outside of school.
Lynsey Holton, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Manager at the school said: “We selected a group of ten students from year eight up to year ten to partake in a SEND session.
“The range of students that we have got here range in different disabilities such as ADHD, Autism and brain injuries, there are a number of different conditions.
“Today has been a fantastic opportunity for the children who wouldn’t necessarily normally be able to participate in this sort of session outside of school to get the exposure. Because they do have special educational needs, they are quite possibly sheltered outside of school as they do require additional support.
“To be able to get the Luton Town Community Trust involved with them is a fantastic opportunity for them to get the exposure they need.”
Cuthbert, Lee and Potts got involved in a kick around with the boys, something the club captain appeared to thoroughly enjoy, as well as being incredibly impressed by the amount of work the Community Trust do for the local area.
He said: “It’s always nice to be involved with this sort of thing. Some of these boys will come and watch us play at Kenilworth Road. It’s great to be able to come down here and see all the great work the teachers and support staff do, and I think the boys really enjoyed it.
“The Community Trust are like the unsung heroes, the amount of work they put in, not just here but behind the scenes as well and it’s fantastic to see the work they do with the kids.”
Headteacher, Daniel Connor, was over the moon to see the boys in the group getting some top class tutoring, as well as getting to play football alongside the pros.
“It’s been absolutely brilliant having the players from Luton Town here with us today,” he explained. “We are so appreciative of the time they have spent with us – the boys have found it just magnificent.
“It’s been great for them to be able to play football with professionals – real athletes – helping the boys raise their standards and for them to meet some of their idols.
“This is a fantastic initiative and we are so pleased the club have been able to send the players to work with us, we are really grateful.”
A day which really showcased Luton Town’s role in the local community kicked off this morning with a visit to Kenilworth Road by the Alzheimer’s Society.
Hatters defender Johnny Mullins and Luton Ladies winger Dionne Manning, who works on the club’s catering team, posed for pictures at the side of the pitch to show the Hatters are united in support of the charity’s Dementia Awareness campaign #UnitedAgainstDementia
(Pictured: Town defender Johnny Mullins and Ladies Team winger Dionne Manning help promote the Dementia Awareness Campaign)
On 17th May we will host a second Dementia Friends information session aimed at supporters, after club staff recently took part in a workshop to highlight how dementia can affect a person and how we can all make a difference to those affected by dementia in Luton.
More information about the session, which will run from 6-7pm in the Eric Morecambe Suite, is available here.
Then, while Scott, Olly and Dan were coaching the children at Challney, their team-mates were taking part in a reserve game at Kenilworth Road that was watched by a crowd of 43 residents from Heywood House day care centre in Marsh Farm.
(PICTURED: Staff and residents from Heywood House watch on as the Town reserves beat Derby County reserves 4-1)
The Heywood House Centre offers health, social care and an educational programme for young adults aged 19-plus who have profound and multiple learning difficulties with complex medical needs.
The Town welcomed the group to the Kenilworth Road stand, and captain Jonathan Smith led the team over into the stand to show their appreciation of their vociferous support at the end of the 4-1 win.
Dave Heywood, who runs the five-year-old centre with wife Clare, said: “We set it up because our son Jack finished school at 18 and we asked ‘What next?’ for him. There was nothing, and we didn’t want Jack and other youngsters like him just to sit inside the house with Jeremy Kyle on the TV for company.
“We started with five clients and now we have 43, and as you can see and hear today, they love to get out in the fresh air and enjoy themselves. Many of them are football fans so being able to bring all of them here today has been wonderful.”