An Oxleas six-a-side team was victorious in the finals of the South London Special League (SLSL). Bromley – formerly known as Bromley R and Bs – is made up exclusively of Oxleas service users.
The team play in the upper echelons on the SLSL – the championship division – and were undefeated in the final session of round robin matches at Long Lane Junior Football Club in Dursley Road, Kidbrooke on Thursday 17 June. Not only did Bromley win the day’s football they were also victorious overall throughout the season.
The trust has recently given the South London Special League (SLSL) £3,000 to help it to continue its work with footballers with a learning disability. Oxleas provides healthcare services throughout Bexley, Greenwich and Bromley boroughs.
Thirteen teams turned up to compete in the end of season football extravaganza, from south London and further afield. The SLSL runs teams that include people that live in the boroughs of Greenwich, Bexley, Bromley and the surrounding areas. The matches lasted 10 minutes each and were all played in a noticeably sporting manner – something the wider footballing community does not always achieve.
SLSL Director, Sharon Brokenshire, said: “It is really humbling to see so many people out here today having such a good time.” She also commented on the sporting nature of the league. She went on: “The behaviour of our players is generally very good.” And at the cup and medal presentations League Chair, Jayne Kilgallen, congratulated all the players and thanked Oxleas for its continued support.
27-year-old Charlie Westpfel is one of those players. Charlie, who has mild to moderate learning difficulties said that he left Atlas House at Oxleas Goldie Leigh site in Abbey Wood to live in the community again. He said: “I’m a big football fan and really enjoyed playing football today. I played up front and in midfield for Panfield Pumas (a Greenwich team). I didn’t score but I came close.”
The league ensures people with a learning disability have the opportunity to play sport on a regular basis, competing at each age, gender and ability level for an
annual cup. In turn this raises the awareness and involvement of the local communities to the skill of the players and their determination to succeed.
The league was set up in 2004. Since this date over 1,000 boys, girls and adults have experienced the fun of playing football. The project has been managed since its inception by Sharon Brokenshire and has received a variety of awards for excellence that demonstrate the level of commitment of the management committee.
Oxleas is in south east London and provides mental health and learning disability services in Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich boroughs, community health services in Bexley and Greenwich, and specialist services to Lewisham.
The victorious Bromley side.