Stevenage FC Foundation in partnership with Mind in Mid Herts are using the power of sport to tackle mental health problems in the local community.

Local mental health charity Mind in Mid Herts has been awarded funding by Sport England and the National Lottery to help people to try new sports and activities to help improve their physical and mental health.

Through this work, Mind in Mid Herts will be supporting people experiencing mental health problems – such as depression and anxiety – to build their confidence to join in with a variety of activities, including sports clubs, yoga swimming, and in partnership with Stevenage FC Foundation, new Walking Football Sessions.

Physical activity can play a vital role in the lives of people with mental health difficulties, reducing the risk of depression by up to 30%. Unfortunately, we also know that many people who do want to participate in sport are being held back by their mental health; whether that’s feelings of low self-confidence, exhaustion or fear of crowded spaces.

Through the exercise sessions, Mind, Stevenage FC Foundation and other partners will be supporting people with mental health difficulties in the local community to enjoy the benefits of getting more active.

Sharn Tomlinson, Chief Executive of Mind in Mid Herts said:

“We are so thrilled to have been awarded the funding from National Mind and the English Football League to deliver the Get Set to Go program.  The research is strong that physical activity improves people’s mental health and also that poor mental health effects people’s physical health.  This program is bringing mental and physical health together and part of the project is to raise awareness that we need think about both in a recursive way.

What is also helpful is bringing people together to do something they all enjoy – making new friends is great for people’s mental health.  We hope that the taster sessions will support people to have a go at something new.  It may not be for everyone, but you won’t know unless you try.”

Hannah Marsh, Healthy Lifestyles Manager at Stevenage FC Foundation said:

It is a privilege to be in a position where we can we can help local people improve their mental health through the programmes that we run, where we take a focus on promoting positive health and wellbeing. The Get Set to Go programme is a fantastic example of partnership work between the Foundation and Mind in Mid Herts, giving those who may be suffering with mental health difficulties to access free, friendly exercise sessions that offer support to those who need it.”

The Walking Football sessions will be starting at the end of January 2020, times and dates to be confirmed. For more details on the session, please contact Callum Kwasnik, Outreach Worker at Mind in Mid Herts on [email protected]. Alternatively, email Hannah Marsh on [email protected].