CEO - Helping our participants mental health

This past week we celebrated mental health awareness week and in the spirit of this I thought I would utilise this weeks write-up to make you aware of some of the ways we have tried to help people stay mentally positive.

This past week saw us launch our new virtual Get Set 2 Go group. This group normally meet weekly at Stanley Park to use playing football as a way to help with their mental wellbeing, we have obviously had to postpone this is the current pandemic, so have now launched a virtual group for all participants to still come together, with their coaches and enjoy some (virtual) social time to share laughs and activities. The first weeks sessions have proved really popular.

We continue to deliver our weekly virtual Quiz on Facebook live, every Friday evening for everyone to enjoy with our Community Engagement Officer, Dave Marsland. If you choose to get involved, I apologise in advance for the bad jokes form Dave.

We have also set up other virtual groups, for our older participants from our Sporting Memories and Extra Time social groups and these have proved very popular too.

For FitFans participants that have completed the course we have set up new warm up groups where we are continuing to provide them with health tips to keep them on track and losing weight. We have done something very similar for potential new participants, to keep their positivity towards making life changes, who we hope to meet with and start the real programme as soon as we are allowed to do so safely.

We have sent out a number of messages and activities for our secondary school participants, via our PL Inspires team, Simon Smith and Grace Oldfield, to help keep resilience high and attitudes towards education positive. I’ve tried some of the activities myself and they’re a great help, especially when tackling home schooling with our eight year old daughter, Scarlett.

For people that just need someone to talk to, we continue to host our Community Hotline, which has helped many people link with appropriate groups and services or just been a voice on the other end of the line, for people that are on their own. If you need to call this line the numbers are, 07939446367 or 07939156297.

Whilst we have put a lot of thought and attention to our participants, we also need to make sure our staff team remain engaged and mentally positive, as they have endured difficult circumstances through the pandemic and as a team we always try to be there for each other. We have all kept in touch, via email and full team video meetings, WhatsApp groups and some have been lucky to still see some of the team face-to-face via our community hub food delivery programme. Many of the staff have said volunteering on this service has made this whole period so much easier. Our team are normally get up and go people, who love engaging with the community and trying to make a difference, so this period has been tough.


We have also tried to be responsible when it comes to Furloughing staff. The mental wellbeing of all of them and ensuring we are able to continue to support our community were the key factors to us only utilising the job retention scheme for 41% of our workforce, this shows our intention to continue to support our community to the highest standard, compared to a much higher 60% for all other football club community charities across the country.

The best way to find out about what we can do for you and your family is via our website ( or a visit to our social media platforms. We genuinely have something taking place for everybody so, if you haven’t already, find out how you can get involved, and we will see you soon.