Ryan's Story

Nine-year-old Ryan from Cardiff often struggled when trying anything new, our coaches worked closely with Ryan to build rapport and trust...

Nine-year-old Ryan from Cardiff often struggled when trying anything new. Due to his short attention span and his tendency to be easily distracted, he found new environments – and large groups – particularly difficult to deal with. Often this would trigger social anxiety, fear, or frustration in Ryan, leading to an inability to settle into new groups. So having tried Tae Kwon Do and Beavers, his family signed him up for our Bluebirds Ability programme.

Bluebirds Ability is a football programme for children and young people living with a disability or impairment that improves wellbeing, develops confidence, and increases social interaction. Through our sessions, we give children of all abilities the opportunity to experience the benefits of taking part in regular sport.

Our coaches worked closely with Ryan to build rapport and trust. They made him feel valued by listening to his concerns and engaging him using his favourite games as a starting point for activities. Coaches persevered despite his initial nervousness and checked in with him regularly to ensure he felt included and comfortable.

Since getting involved with Bluebirds Ability, Ryan's confidence has grown significantly, and he now loves taking part in football sessions just like his brother. Ryan's mum Julie explains:

"Ryan is doing so well thanks to the brilliant team at Cardiff City FC Foundation. Due to his difficulties, he finds new things and experiences overwhelming and needs a lot of support, understanding, and encouragement to feel safe enough to participate.

"We are so proud to see him enthusiastically joining in with football, which he enjoys so much. I feel this is a testament to the fantastic team at the Cardiff City FC Foundation, who have shown incredible kindness, compassion and understanding to all of us.

"It is so nice being able to relax when we come to the sessions and not feel judged. Knowing that Ryan is always included and accepted is such a brilliant feeling for me as his mum. I can't thank everyone at the Foundation enough."

Find out more about our Bluebirds Ability sessions by clicking here.

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