Set in the heart of the Swansea valleys, Cwm Wanderers AFC offers football, friendship & a true sense of community and inclusion for all ages within the area, with a modern clubhouse to a well-kept pitch, there is something for everyone wether it be socializing or the football.
Cwm Wanderers AFC, launched their ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Devlopment Academy on September 2nd 2017 at their Kick Off Event for the 2017/2018 Season. With the opening of their new development academy for children on the autistic spectrum, the club, Swansea City Community Trust and sponsors EE organized the event with football being played throughout the whole day, bouncy castles, competitions, raffle and hot food for all. Countless volunteers helped run the stands and ensure the day ran smoothly whilst St. Johns ambulance had a pop up stand at the event, teaching everyone how to use the new defibrillator that was fitted by The Powys Ambulance Service in the clubhouse for the community.
The afternoon also witnessed a special guest appearance from former Wales & Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall, who offered his services for future events at the club. Speaking to Neville, he expressed the importance of everyone, regardless of the circumstances, being able to have a place in football and believes Cwm Wanderers AFC’s new academy is a blue print for other footballing clubs around the UK.
Swansea Academy players Mael Davies, Steven Benda and Causso Darame also took time out of their day to come along to the event and interact with everyone along with their manager Nigel Rees,
The idea to open an academy for children on the ASD spectrum came from a mum of three boys, Andrea Smith. Andrea is regular at the club with her two boys playing football week in week out, but couldn’t help feeling helpless when her eldest son Steffan, asked if he could start football as well. Steffan is on the autistic spectrum and like many other children around the country finds it difficult to involve himself in mainstream team sports where advanced socializing is key. Andrea and her colleague Louise Hodges came up with an idea to open an academy and pitched their idea to a Dragon’s Den style competition organized by BT (parent company of EE) where they met Richard Jones from the Swans Community Trust who wanted to get on board with the project.
The new academy will not only entail specialized ASD coaching for football but a place where children on the spectrum can go afterward to meet with friends in a comfortable and safe environment. The academy also offers opportunities for children and young adults on the spectrum, to learn life skills and prepare them for working life, with cash handling, interpersonal customer service skills and working behind the bar.
Andrea Smith, Louise Hodges and their team at EE have worked tirelessly on this project over the last few months and should be so proud of their efforts to make this project the first of it’s kind in the UK. The next step for Andrea and the EE team is the semi finals of the Challenge Cup, which if they go on to win would provide the club will valuable resources and awareness for the new academy. The Swans and the Community Trust have been so generous and helpful with their involvement of the new academy with supplying the children with brand new kit’s, new equipment and funding for specializing coaching.
The new ASD Academy at Cwm Wanderers AFC has already received tremendous interest so far, so if you wish to enquire about a place or have any questions, please email Andrea Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cwm Wanderers AFC