This year's ride is raising funds for Albion in the Community's football sessions for people with autism, which take place inside the dome at the Albion's training ground in Lancing and are regularly attended by more than 20 young players – many of whom have not previously had the opportunity to play the sport they love.
That location and the experience of AITC’s coaches means the players can concentrate on the most important part of the session – having fun and developing new skills.
The mum of a teenager who attends the session recently said: “When my son went to the first session he found joining in quite difficult so he would only do some one-to-one work. The coaches were very good at letting him work his way round.
Players at the session are usually splits into smaller groups, based on ability and age. There is also a free play zone and AITC makes sure its player-to-coach ratio is high. Typically, there will be around five coaches at a session attended by 20 players.
“He feels so safe, happy and secure at the AITC session that he doesn’t need support from us. If I was to introduce something else to him he might want me to stay – but at the football he can’t wait to get rid of me!”