Published: 02nd October 2018
Check out Bangalore City FC's new programme for kids with special needs
Bangalore City Football Club's Coach Bo says that through this programme, the club wants everyone to enjoy teamwork and have some fun
The Bangalore City Football Club is a well-known club where kids go to learn and practice football. Now, this prominent sports organisation in the city of Bengaluru has recently initiated a programme that will cater to kids with special needs and equip them to be a part of the game too. "We wish to accommodate kids with all kinds of needs such as Autism, ADHD and Down's syndrome," says Boudewijn Renes, who is fondly called Coach Bo, the Head coach of the football club. He goes on to add that BCFC kickstarted this programme on October 1 at The Total Football Turf, a BCFC facility that is located on Lavender Lane opposite Decathalon Hennur, Bengaluru. BCFC believes in total football, meaning that everyone should have the chance to enjoy teamwork, friendships and the fun of the sport, states Coach Bo.
BCFC began by laying the foundations of football with an aim to bring in the European-style player development whilst striving to expose the maximum capacity of each player in higher levels of football, with one such goal to rekindle the football spark in India. The club has had two successful years not just in the growth and development of football players of all ages but has also had its share of wins in the form of multiple tournaments such as The Amateur League championships and Dream United FC open tournaments. Now, BCFC is all set to start their new journey in building the lives of kids with special needs. Excerpts from our conversation:
What inspired you to start this programme?
I have always had a heart for kids with special needs. I grew up in a family that worked with special kids. BCFC has had a great start in terms of football for typical kids (normal), but every now and then we have had kids with special needs come to our club and we never really had the chance to engage them in our programme. This was the seed that formed the idea of bringing about an independent programme to enable these kids to experience and learn football just as much as the others. I wanted to give them an equal opportunity to be a part of a football community environment.
Holland calling: Boudewijn Renes, fondly called Coach Bo, is originally from the Netherlands
How is this special need programme different from your regular programme?
The numbers are much smaller in this programme. Each coach will be subject to working with only two kids at a time as compared to the regular programme where the coach to student ratio would be 1:15. In terms of staff, we have a team of experts who have worked with these kids before and will continue to do so through this programme. We will be getting parents to fill out a questionnaire before we accept any of these kids in our programme, so that we understand the specific needs of each child and customise our coaching sessions accordingly.
Does this programme accommodate kids with varying financial backgrounds?
Money is not a factor that motivates this programme. Since this is an initiative to promote inclusion, we have subsidised the fees to accommodate these children and equip them to meet their need. We have analysed the affordability factor and taken into consideration financial backgrounds and have finalised the discounted fees.
National colours: The BCFC team jersey is orange just like the Netherlands' national football team jersey
Have other clubs initiated this programme?
I have seen schools and centres that look into helping kids with special needs and apart from that, I haven’t seen a sports institution take up an initiative like this. It is a joy for us to contribute towards the wellbeing of these children and BCFC will do its part in bringing about a change in their lives. Playing in a team environment will provide a great opportunity to prune social skills and cooperation. We are excited to welcome the new members to our BCFC family.