WHO ARE YA? Vicki Galt, DeaFFF NW

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1) Who are ya?

Vicki Galt, 42, Lancaster

2) Who do you support?

Long term – Nottingham Forest – I was born next to the ground! [I used to live a five-minute walk away from it – GM]

Now – Morecambe FC (as I hire the pitch there for our deaf Football Club), and Man Utd as my sons are big fans!

3) What was your first game?

Nottingham Forest v – I can’t remember!

It was in 1986/87 and I went along with the St John’s ambulance. I just remember hoping someone needed first aid on their knees!

4) What do you do for a job?

I used to be a nurse in intensive care but then I had three kids – two of which are deaf.

I’ve set up and run various deaf and special needs groups. I have recently set up one in Lancaster, but I’ve now moved on to voluntarily creating deaf sports groups (especially football) throughout the North West for deaf kids to play competitively alongside their peers – DeaFFF NW.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

No, apart from the deaf sports clubs.

6) How did you get into it?

My eldest came home from grassroots football and said that after a year they still weren’t including him and he still didn’t really know anyone there, despite the club receiving deaf awareness training and support being given! So, I subsequently set up football training for deaf kids in Lancaster and Morecambe.

7) What do you get out of it?

I get the satisfaction of seeing my boys play with their deaf mates in sports that they want to participate in, plus the rewards from organising events, fundraising and socialising with other deaf families in the area and around the region.

I just wish that the FA would recognise that the deaf want to play deaf football not pan disability football as they don’t have a physical disability themselves!

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Don’t just start a group yourself without speaking to someone that knows the kids and their needs first – don’t get into it without the involvement of others as the kids won’t come!

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

After the fight for funding, first with the training and now with DeaFFF NW, I would have secured the funding first in hindsight, but then I may not have got any and the groups wouldn’t exist!

I’ve only just secured funding as the first year of DeaFFF NW was a trial to see what numbers would attend – upwards of 50 a session at times! Now, I have some sponsorship for venues and BSL interpreters.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

I would love to meet Karen Brady – she worked in football proving that women could make it in the profession. If I could develop DeaFFF NW the way she developed her club I would be really pleased.

David Beckham has used his name for fundraising and I would love some advice from him too!

Playerwise, it would have to be Peter Shilton; or an unknown to you all but well known to me – Adam Thomas! He is deaf and played for us at Morecambe Deaf FC when he moved up here from Plymouth. He has since gone on to Deaf Man Utd and England Deaf Futsal where he was picked for the Euro qualifiers in Oslo.

That shows that deaf kids can become football stars, and he came from our grassroots deaf squad!

Many thanks, Vicki. All the best with your initiatives.

See www.ndcs.org.uk for more information.

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