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The Arnett’s Program started with one man wanting to do more not just for his sons but for the wider Hunter community; which is why it kicked every goal needed to gain support from NCIG’s Community Support Program.

Mark Midson first thought of creating an inclusive soccer program for children with special needs, such as Autism and developmental delays back in 2016, and after gaining support from some “amazing people” it became a reality in 2017 with a squad of just 18 kids.
His desire to create such a program came from his autistic sons Bailey and Fletcher. Growing up they played mainstream football but the older they got, the larger the gap became for the clubs to facilitate their needs.

Just like any parents, all Mark and his wife Mel wanted was somewhere their kids could play sport alongside friends and remain active. After months of searching they came up empty handed and it became their mission to create a place where all children, of all abilities could belong and just play football.

“So many people came together and created something really special, they worked miracles to get these kids on the field and for that I am so thankful” said Mark

“The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when the Edgeworth Eagles came forward and offered us not only the field but the funding to start”.

So what is now known as The Edgeworth FC Arnett’s Program is a place for everybody, where kids and their entire families come together for what is more than just a training session during the season.

“It’s not only the kids who get so much out of this program it’s the parents too” said Mel Midson, Mark’s wife

“We all know and understand what life is like with a child who has special needs, it’s nice to be able to talk about the ups and downs with others who have similar stories”.

When NCIG announced to Mark he was a successful recipient of the CSP program he joyfully explained that the support meant the program would now be able to cater for those who had previously missed out due to a lack of available funding.
During the 2018 season 65 kids with different levels of ability took part in the Arnett’s Program, an amazing feat for one man and a life changing contribution to the community.

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