Champion

Duncan, a 50 year old male from Hertfordshire, suffering with anxiety and depression and Type II Diabetes.

Summary

Duncan joined the Get Set to Go partnership football session between Stevenage FC Foundation and Mind in Mid Herts back in January 2020.

Despite initial nerves linked to his anxiety, Duncan joined the sessions from week 1 and found that as the weeks went on, not only did his physical health improve, stating weight loss and better control of his blood sugar levels, but his mental health also significantly improved.

Although the football sessions had to be suspended during the lockdown period, Duncan continued to stay active by joining in with virtual fitness sessions lead by the Foundation and Mind in Mid Herts. He managed to improve his fitness levels even further through these sessions and found that the weekly group engagement was key in maintaining his social contact.

Duncan has now returned to the football sessions which have recently restarted and is thriving by being able to engage with like-minded people who are in a similar position to him and continue to play a sport that he loves.

Background

The Get Set to Go football sessions take place once a week and last for one hour, with 30 minutes focusing on warming up and football drills and 30 minutes for a match. The first few weeks the pace of the football was slowed down to ‘walking football’ but it was soon apparent that as the group’s fitness improved, they wanted to speed things up so regular paced football was soon introduced.

7 weeks into the sessions, the lockdown was brought in meaning that the football sessions had to be suspended. Keen to keep engaged with the participants and help them to maintain their new-found fitness levels, a virtual fitness session was offered free of charge to all on the programme, led by the Foundation’s Health and Wellbeing Manager, Hannah Marsh.

These sessions took place weekly and helped maintain a sense of community for the participants and kept them engaged in being active. There was even ‘guest visits’ from the Stevenage FC First Team Manager, Alex Revell, along with other members of the Mind in Mid Herts team. The outdoor football sessions have now returned with the previous participants ready and raring to get back into playing football together.

In His Own Words

“The best thing I could have done was getting in contact with Mind in Mid Herts, as I wanted to be more active to lose weight and get my blood sugars under control.

“Thanks to seeing a poster for swimming on the door at the Stevenage Wellbeing Centre I started a ten-week swimming programme which helped to give me my confidence back.

“Towards the end of those sessions the Get Set to Go Coordinator, Callum, told me about the possibility of doing walking football and I jumped at the chance as it was with my local football league team Stevenage FC and in coordination with their wonderful Foundation team.

“The sport really changed my life in so many ways mentally and physically. I have lost weight and also have dropped my blood sugar levels to a safer level. Mental health is just as important as physical and there should be no shame I saying ‘I think I need help.’

“A massive thank you to everyone involved with Mind, Get Set to Go and Stevenage FC Foundation, you really have changed my life for the better.”