SPECIAL Olympics GB have confirmed the launch of a new club in West Lancashire.
Disability football team Skelmersdale Men-Aces have achieved the prestigious accolade.
The club are now looking to a bright future which could see them expand into other sports.
Special Olympics GB (SOGB) is the largest organisation providing year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
The programme aims to transform the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families through the power of sport.
This is something the Men-Aces have been doing since their conception in 2009, with Carl and Mim Eaton – along with teenage daughter Samantha – among a highly-dedicated coaching team.
With around 30 players the Skelmersdale Men-Aces travel the country entering tournaments and playing matches against other disability sides.
And no-one can doubt the players’ enthusiasm or ability on the disability football scene – three sides emerged with silverware in Harrogate at their last competition, and the club have been selected as part of the British team in the Special Olympics later this year.
Now, thanks to SOGB, the club can look to expand their football coaching and potentially branch out into other sports.
The new Skelmersdale club will be based from the Glenburn Playing Fields in the town and will initially provide football coaching with a view to extending further sports in the near future as the club grows.
Carl Eaton, chairman of Special Olympics Skelmersdale, said: "We are absolutely thrilled to receive our accreditation certificate from the organisation to be able to provide sports coaching and programmes for local people with intellectual disabilities.
“We are so very proud. It has been a very long road to finally reach our goal, not to mention a lot of work.
“It is, however, so worth the wait and work to be part of this fantastic and very special organisation."
Special Olympics GB CEO Karen Wallin added: "I would like to thank all the people in the Skelmersdale area whose hard work on behalf of the organisation and our athletes will, I am sure, make this programme a success. I wish Special Olympics Skelmersdale a successful first year and many more beyond."