Elliott's story: Representing Burnley is a great experience

3 Oct 2023
Premier League Disability Festival, Elliott, Burnley

How the Premier League Kicks programme is helping boost the confidence of one youngster with autism and ADHD

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This summer hundreds of young people from across England and Wales took part in three Premier League Disability Football Festivals.

The pan-disability events, featuring more than 50 professional clubs, celebrate the work that takes place all year round to make football accessible for all.

Here are the stories from some of those involved.

Elliott (Burnley) 

Limitless Clarets is Burnley in the Community's disability sports project and offers young people with special educational needs or disabilities a safe space to develop their skills and make new friends.

One of those participants is 11-year-old Elliott, who joined the club three years ago through their Premier League Kicks programme.

"It was one of the only times I got to play football during the week," he says. "It's just a great experience to be able to play for Burnley and to represent them in competitions.

"It boosts my confidence because the more I work with Burnley, the more I get taught."

Elliott has autism and ADHD. "It makes me think in different ways than other people," he says. 

And through the programme, Elliott is gaining life skills that will help him through secondary school and beyond.

"When there are other kids like me or who don't understand the rules, I try to help them," he says. "I've been able to do that because of everything that Burnley have taught me.

Premier League Disability Festival, Elliott, Burnley v2

"It's also helped me at home because I'm realising not everything revolves around me. I don't have to be the person always getting something or doing something, it can be other people in my house too."

The Inclusive Clarets sessions are tailored for the needs of the young people and they create an environment that allows participants like Elliott to become mentors for others.

"We have given Elliott the opportunities to be himself, to be a leader and an inspiration," explains Caitlin Walker, Burnley in the Community Premier League Kicks officer.

"I have seen such a change in him and it’s so good to see. Just knowing that he is becoming so much more confident in not only his football ability but as a person, it’s incredible.

"Limitless Clarets is a place where young people can go and be themselves. If they want to be the confident one they can be; if they want to be the shy one, we'll put them with someone that will support them.

"It's giving them that opportunity that they wouldn't necessarily get in mainstream football - they can showcase themselves as footballers and as people."

The Premier League Disability Football Festivals are a celebration of how Premier League Kicks, Premier League Inspires and Premier League Primary Stars connect young people aged from five to 18 with football, providing positive opportunities to help them to reach their potential.

Also in this series

Part 1: Premier League Disability Football Festival celebrates inclusivity
Part 2: How PL Disability Football Festivals make a difference
Part 3: Rosie's story: Liverpool helped me with my anxiety
Part 4: Declan's story: PL Kicks made me feel better about myself
Part 5: Matt Crossen: Disability programme creates unbelievable opportunities

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