There is now clear evidence that maintaining a good level of physical well- being is a key contributory factor towards good mental health. In recent years therefore, WNST has funded a number of projects for people with varying degrees of mental ill-health, whether as part of an intensive rehabilitation programme or more simply to help improve an individual’s social integration, physical fitness and sense of well-being.
With the increasing prevalence of mental health issues in today’s society, these projects are perhaps some of the most important within our funding portfolio.
To mark World Mental Health Day 2018, we joined Hendon FC for an event at their Silver Jubilee Park ground to celebrate the work they been doing, funded in part by the Trust, in partnership with Brent Mind, the local NHS Mental Health Trust and Brent Council, to support local people with mental health support needs. Running dedicated weekly mental health football coaching sessions, the club has helped to support an ever-increasing number of mostly younger men to improve their quality of life through their love of football. Several of the participants spoke movingly about how the project had re-energised them and given them a new lease of life. The success of the work was recognised recently by the award from the Middlesex FA of their “Community Project of the Year” accolade.
Over the years, the Trust has supported a range of mental health football initiatives across several of our funding programmes, both locally in Brent and with a number of the pro Club Community Trusts, including at Charlton, QPR, Milton Keynes Dons and Brentford.
One of our longest funding relationships has been with the London Playing Fields Foundation and the Leyton Orient Trust. Their “Coping through Football” project recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, providing holistic support for people in East London living with mental ill health. As well as offering regular football sessions, the work also assists participants with housing, education, work and other issues affecting daily life. Recent academic research has made both the economic and healthcare case for this kind of intervention.