Published on 29 September 2021

Today, Manchester United Women’s star and Cruyff Foundation ambassador Jackie Groenen, opened her own Special Cruyff Court at Cumberland School in Rivington, Lancashire. Thanks to the support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, we surprised Jackie with the Special Cruyff Court named after her.

The Cruyff Foundation opened the first Cruyff Court in the United Kingdom, Cruyff Court Dennis Bergkamp, in London back in 2008. Johan Cruyff was present that day. Since Johan's passing in 2016 his legacy remains our inspiration every single day. At the end of this year there will be over 20 (Special) Cruyff Courts in the UK. Special Cruyff Courts are adapted to the needs for children with disabilities. A Special Cruyff Court has adaptations include surfaces, special facilities and adapted sports equipment to make it accessible for everyone.

Jackie Groenen whom plays with number 14 on her shirt, just like Johan, is our proud ambassador for serval years now. Jackie officially opened the Special Cruyff Court at Cumberland School today. This school is an independent, specialist day school for youth with a range of complex learning needs.

Commenting on the opening Jackie said: ‘In particular, the enthusiasm of disabled children when they are given the opportunity to exercise and play sports together, is extremely contagious and motivating. I wish everyone to enjoy sports as much as I do! I am delighted to have my own Special Cruyff Court’.

The Cruyff Foundation creates space for vulnerable children all over the world to take part in sports and be active. Participation in sport improves their fitness, teaches them to interact and helps their personal development.

‘Niels Meijer, director of the Cruyff Foundation commented: “With this Special Cruyff Court, space is created for the children of this school. Space to sport and play. Space to grow. Space to make friends. Space to be active and improve physical and mental health. Nowadays this is more important than ever. We want to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery who support courts like this’.

Phil Jones, CEO of Witherslack Group, a leading provider of specialist education of which Cumberland School is part of, said: ‘We have immense pride in working in partnership with the Cruyff Foundation to create amazing spaces for our young people. This Cruyff Court at our Cumberland School is simply a world class facility and has made such a positive impact for both pupils and staff. The difference they have made was particularly illustrated throughout the early stages of the pandemic. When our schools were asked to stay open the courts played a huge part in both ensuring the wellbeing of our school community, as well as offering much needed fun and enjoyment. Our ambition is to continue our work with the Cruyff Foundation to create even more amazing courts, with developments in the North East, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and the South East already well advanced.

This project is realized thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.