Football in the Community has secured funding from Children in Need to sustain a vital mental health project for children and young people, which helps address a range of behavioural, emotional and social struggles.
FITC will use the power of football and their professional sports coaches to provide 10 to 18 year olds with severe to mild mental health problems with the tools they need to tackle their problems. Working closely with Nottingham CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) to refer children onto the project and the University of Nottingham’s Institute of Mental Health, the project will be evaluated to track the process of each individual and the project as a whole.
“Goals for Life” has been successfully running for three years across Nottingham. This £61,000 funding extension will allow the project to be delivered further afield and to work with girls and boys aged 10 to 18 years old, expanding and developing the project for another three years. FITC will work with girls and boys with a range of mental health problems, from mild behavioural problems to severe issues, including eating disorders and depression. The funding will allow FITC to reach more young people using professional football as the tool to engage, working with these young people at a time when they are extremely vulnerable is key to the project’s success.
Goals for Life gives young people an informal, interactive way to focus their energy, providing them with positive role models and encouraging them to think about and explore their emotions and reactions through regular workshops. FITC will work to create a comfortable, calm and positive environment so participants open up.
Sessions are structured so participants have fun and stabilise their mood. Sessions are divided in two: football-based activities and mental health promotion workshops, allowing participants to explore their feelings, using high profile, professional football examples. They address and manage their own anger issues; stress, anxiety and learn how to express themselves more effectively. This dual approach benefits participants mentally and physically. Coaching staff work as positive role models and build a rapport with participants, allowing more open communication, increasing the success of the project for each individual.
Previous sessions have proved that the Notts County badge has a significant impact on young people. Participants feel like they are training with the club, which encourages better behaviour. It gives them something to look forward to on a weekly basis. Football activities allow participants to build up their strengths as players, as well as their capabilities off the pitch when communicating and interacting with other people.
FITC’s Activity Manager Ian Richardson is delighted with the project’s growth, development and continued financial support from Children in Need, saying: “Goals for Life has already supported hundreds of young people, helping them face their issues head-on, providing early intervention so they have the best chance of growing into healthy adults. The project has had great success stories already, supporting young people to overcome a range of problems, helping them behave better, improving their confidence and making friends. Now we have another three years to improve what we deliver already and work with a more varied group of young people.”
Alan Pringle, Assistant Professor in mental health at University of Nottingham commented: “The University of Nottingham has worked closely with Football in the Community to evaluate a range of programmes in the past. This has provided important input for the local community with projects addressing both physical and mental health. Up to this point projects have had a tendency to focus more on adults and older people, so this project is an important piece of the jigsaw which shows a commitment to the whole community. Our relationship will continue with Doctor Tim Carter and Dr Alan Pringle overseeing the evaluation process for Goals for Life.”
Dawn Watts, Regional Manager for Children in Need said, “We are delighted that Notts County FC Football in the Community Goals for Life project has been funded again, and will be able to continue supporting children and young people with mental health problems. The support provided has helped to increase confidence and self-esteem, improved behaviours and social skills, all of which help to ensure that children are safe, happy and reaching their potential.”
Acclaimed writer Billy Ivory visited the project in 2014
Project Manager – Ian Richardson
If you think you’d be or know someone who would be suitable to take part in this project you need to contact Alisa on 0115 876 2160.