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Andrew’s journalism dream comes true

Andrew Paul is supported by Community Integrated Care. He participated in our charity’s groundbreaking Inclusive Volunteering Partnership with the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament. Designed to support people who access social care to develop new skills and achieve their dreams, our partnership enhanced the lives of more than 150 people through person-centred volunteering and mentoring.

Andrew’s goal was to become a journalist. With the support of one of Britain’s best sport’s reporters, former Daily Mirror Correspondent, Gareth Walker, this ambition has come true. In his feature, he shares his sensory experiences of being at the big game and his pride at taking on a media role at the huge Germany vs Denmark tie.

Sharing a powerful message that live sport is for everyone, Andrew’s first ever match-report carries an important lesson for the social care sector. Throughout the piece, we’re also sharing some of the incredible photographs taken by Inclusive Volunteers who took part in the programme as matchday photographers Katie Richardson, Michael Duffy and David France.

An unforgettable night at UEFA Women’s Euro 2022
By Andrew James Paul, supported by Gareth Walker

Going to the Germany versus Denmark Women’s Euros 2022 game at Brentford’s Community Stadium was a one-in-a-lifetime experience for me. It was my chance to work as a journalist and tell my story.

I’m partially sighted and have a learning disability, so you might think it’s unusual that I go to watch a football game. However, the whole experience was brilliant.

I can see shapes on the field and I can also hear all the sounds of the match, when the players kick the ball or take a throw-in.

I can hear the crowd cheering and that’s a good feeling, when they are all chanting. Then there are all the smells that you get at a football match.

The game went by in a blur and there was so much to take in, but I had an amazing time.

Photo by Michael Duffy

I’d been to a men’s football game before but never a women’s match. It was a different experience but really interesting. Women’s football was so exciting to watch and the Euros was such a big event. I loved being part of the game with Community Integrated Care.

What made it even better for me was that I took my mate Mark with me. I thoroughly enjoyed being at the game with him. Sport is so exciting when you watch it with friends.

It was very crowded at Brentford and we couldn’t find our seats at first, but the stadium team helped us find our way. We were sat down and ready before the match kicked off.

Both teams were really good. Germany won the game 4-0 and the atmosphere was great when the goals went in. Denmark had a player sent off right at the end and there was a lot of noise then as well.

It was a group game so it was an important match for them, and later they managed to get to the final when they played England.

Photo by David France

Because I’d seen the game at Brentford, I took extra interest in the final and was cheering England on all the way. It was amazing when they became the champions. I’ve carried on watching the World Cup qualifiers recently, including their win over Luxembourg. I’m now a big fan of the Lionesses.

It was really good having the Euros in this country and meant that a lot of us at Community Integrated Care could have some really good experiences.

There wasn’t one thing that stood out for me from the day at Brentford, it was just the whole experience of being able to work as a journalist at such an important game.

Now I’d like to do more sports journalism, it’s something that I really enjoy, especially football. My brother is moving to Liverpool soon and I’d really like to get to a game there, and I’d also like to write an article about my family.

It would be great to see more people enjoy going to football games and following their dreams.


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