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Published March 28, 2024

Foundation Fixture | Hope’s Story

In the lead up to Foundation Fixture on 13 April, we are highlighting the people and programmes at the heart of our work in the community.

Hope, 16, is a participant of our Soccer Schools at Portman Road, attending during every school holiday period. She has Down syndrome, but Foundation staff have made sure our Soccer Schools, which are mainstream football sessions, are inclusive and accommodating for her.

“She loves it [at the Foundation], she’s completely different when she comes here,” Hope’s mum told the Foundation website.

“She’s confident and the girls really look after her, especially Leanne [Smith, Health & Wellbeing Manager], and Lauren [Revill, Community Apprentice]. She’s built up a real relationship with them, so yeah, she loves it.

“The other children on the Soccer Schools love her, they all say hello to her when she comes in. She’s more friendly, she’s quite quiet at home – she’s Asperger’s – but she’s branched out a bit since she started here.

“I loved it,” Hope’s mum said of Hope’s experience with Harry Clarke and Wes Burns in Planet Blue, which can be seen on TownTV. “It was brilliant that they took the time to do that.”

“She realises that was a big deal and it was great of those lads to do that, it was hilarious – she’s got a lovely sense of humour.

“She loves [the Soccer Schools], she’s always here early! She feels included a lot more here. She does a lot of things but most of the sessions are all with other children with disabilities, but it’s important for her to be treated like anyone else, and she’s that here without a doubt.”

For more information on our Soccer Schools, contact Health & Wellbeing Manager Leanne Smith at