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July 2, 2004

Deaf children join footie scheme

From: This Is Hertfordshire, UK - Jul 2, 2004

By Angela Knight

PUPILS at Heathlands School for deaf children in St Albans will get the chance to take part in an innovative scheme designed to get deaf and hearing impaired children involved in football.

Following the success of the first Hear the Cheer football programme, Phonak UK has decided to turn the event into an annual roadshow which will visit up to 20 venues from May to July.

Hear the Cheer2 is open to hearing impaired youngsters aged 5 to 18 years old, as well as their siblings. The event includes free activities, such as speed and agility tests, penalty shoot-outs and coaching sessions.

Parents also get the opportunity to find out about the latest hearing products and services.

Mr David Charmer, managing director of Phonak UK, said: "We are absolutely committed to making football accessible to all children whether hearing impaired or not.

"For many deaf youngsters, Hear the Cheer2 will be their first experience of football coaching as they are not being allowed equal access to the sport and that is something we are determined to change.'' Hear the Cheer has been awarded the Government backed Sportsmatch Special Award for best disability sport project in England as well as scooping the Sport Industry Awards best sport in the community project UK.

Mr David Campbell, the former Northern Ireland International and World Cup football player, helps run the scheme alongside the David Campbell Celebrity Soccer Schools.

He said: ''It's an absolute thrill to be involved in a groundbreaking scheme such as Hear the Cheer and watch it expand so quickly.

"This is undoubtedly due to a combination of excellent sponsors, hard working staff who have embraced the opportunity to learn sign language, and a massive gap in the provision of football coaching to the deaf community.'' Hear the Cheer2 will be at Heathlands School for the Deaf, in Heathlands Drive, St Albans on Friday, July 2 from 10am to 3pm. For more details visit or call Victoria Adshead on (01925) 623600.

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