A project to support young women with mental and physical disabilities has been awarded a grant by the People’s Health Trust.

This investment – nearly £25,000 - will help to support Female Soccability at the Basildon Soccability Academy in Timberlog Lane, a project which provides the opportunity for young women living in the town to run their own sports and social programmes.

Each week, the women involved with Female Soccability take part in weekly football-based sessions followed by a social event.

The women-only sessions give them a chance to work together as a team, organise their own programmes and build self-esteem.

The idea for the project came from two female members who were already involved in soccability but within mixed sessions.

They felt self-conscious in front of the male players and lacked confidence so were not fully engaging. John Smith, a founder of Basildon Soccability Academy, and now project lead, said: “There is a lack of opportunities for young women who have a disability or mental health condition in Basildon.

“Female Soccability has really kicked off thanks to the grant using money raised through The Health Lottery.

“Many women in the project have physical or mental disabilities and therefore, can feel socially isolated because there is no place that they can go to regularly meet others, share experiences, issues and worries.

“There are no barriers in football and already, we are seeing greater inclusiveness for many women.

“We have a young lady with mental health issues who has been coming for a little while and you can really see the difference in her. She is even talking about trying to get back into the work force.”

Money raised over the last few days from people playing The Health Lottery will go to benefit more projects in the county. To date, more than £99 million has been raised for good causes.