World Mental Health Day 2019 – John’s story at Tranmere Rovers

  • John is a participant of Tranmere Rovers’ and Wirral Ways to Recovery’s weekly football sessions.
  • “The football sessions held by Tranmere Rovers have helped improve my mental health and I have made some good new friends,” John says.
  • Sessions are held every Tuesday at Prenton Park’s Recreation Centre.

‘The football sessions held by Tranmere Rovers have helped improve my mental health and I have made some good new friends.’

Those are the strong words from John, who has battled a number of alcohol and mental health related issues for a long period of time.

John, through the fantastic support provided by Wirral Ways to Recovery, is getting his life back on track with the additional help of Tranmere Rovers Football Club.

After being referred by doctors to Wirral Ways to Recovery in his fight against his mental health and alcohol problems, John now regularly attends weekly football sessions held by Tranmere Rovers in the Community, which is held on a Tuesday at the Recreation Centre at Prenton Park.

Sharing his story ahead of World Mental Health Day 2019, John said: “I have always had mental health problems when I was growing up, but my mum just thought I got angry a lot. I thought it was normal and I went on with life thinking it was normal, but it got to a point as I got older to realise it wasn’t normal, stuff happened in my life which turned my mental health into a downward spiral and it got to a point where I was paranoid and hearing voices.

“My sister and my mum came up to me and said, ‘John, you’re not right,’ we need to take you to the doctors. Speaking to the doctor and speaking out loud about all the problems and all of the issues, I was amazed with myself, the doctor referred me to the early intervention team, so I went through all the channels and medication and I got better. However, when I stopped my medication. It all spiralled out of control again and I got worse.

“I got back on the medication, my mum was ill at the time, so she couldn’t look after me with my medication, but I was moving from house to house with my family and finally got into a residential place and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. My anxiety and paranoia and voices, everything has decreased massively, and I’m not upset anymore, I’m not in a spiral.

“I got involved in Wirral Ways through my drinking, I stopped drinking for six months and then went to hospital which was a further four weeks, because that was just a blur, but I started getting more comfortable around people.  I was drinking way too much, and I would wake up, still be drunk and head to the shop again when the shop was allowed to serve alcohol.

“Because I am in supported living now, the staff said that I needed to go to Wirral Ways because my drinking was out of control, and I listened to them as I think other people know better than me, and Wirral Ways told me to go on an alcohol course which gives you an insight of triggers and causes of alcoholism.”

The overall objective of the football programme is to help both men and women with mental health problems and John has explained how he got involved with Tranmere Rovers In the Community.

John added: “When I first started coming here, I was with my CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) because he knew I liked playing football, until I got comfortable again, he didn’t have to come anymore, I started going and enjoyed it and interacted with other people.

“I think I’ve made some pretty good friends since coming here, it’s definitely improved my mental health, I don’t have to think about my mental health, I can focus and concentrate on one thing.

“I’d tell people to come as all the lads are welcoming here and I have really enjoyed it. “

To find out more about TRIC and the services they provide, please CLICK HERE. For more information on Wirral Ways to Recovery, please CLICK HERE.

Brentford FC’s psychologist delivers a wellbeing workshop to young carers

Brentford FC’s psychologist, Michael Caulfield, delivered his first ever wellbeing workshop to young carers last week. The workshop, which culminated in a “Walk and Talk” around Griffin Park, provided the young carers with techniques to manage stress.

Held at Griffin Park in conjunction with World Mental Health Day this week, the workshop aimed to provide support for young carers while simultaneously raising awareness of the stress and anxiety many young carers face.

The Young Carers Project, delivered by the Club’s award-winning Community Sports Trust, offers vital respite to young people who are looking after a family member in a caring capacity.

One of Brentford’s most well-known players, Sergi Canos, was on hand to offer his own wisdom on how to manage stress. And with the EFL committed to raising awareness of mental health through its official charity partner Mind, Brentford FC are leading the way in raising awareness of mental health both on and off the football pitch.

Speaking about attending the workshop today, the Spanish player said:

“From being at this workshop today, I had no idea the difficulties young carers faced looking after a family member. Using my platform as a professional footballer, I hope I have given young carers a voice and reminded them they are not alone and we are here to help them.”

With 80% of young carers carrying out caring duties every day or most days of the week., the workshop aimed to highlight the importance of walking, having a good night’s sleep and exercising regularly.

Eleven-year-old Jessica McDonald, a young carer for her brother, credits the project with helping her talk more openly, she said:

“It is good to meet people who are going through the same experience as you and understand what it’s like to look after someone with an illness or additional needs.

“I have started to talk more to my family about things and I think my confidence has improved.”

Commissioned by Ealing Council and Hounslow Council, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust’s Young Carers Project offers young people the opportunity to learn new skills and gain in confidence on a weekly basis. The projects include: after-school homework clubs; lunchtime clubs; youth clubs, fortnightly swimming clubs and day trips during the school holidays.

Councillor Yvonne Johnson, Ealing Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:

“Whether as family or friends, teachers or healthcare professionals, we all have a role to play in supporting young people through challenging times.

“The council is proud to be running a mental health first aid programme in our schools to help staff identify and support children struggling with their mental health.

“And I am very pleased the Young Carers project, delivered with Brentford FC’s Community Sports Trust, is providing support to these exceptional young people who, typically, have taken on far more responsibility at home than most others the same age.

“Everyone needs help sometimes and we should all feel comfortable asking for it – especially young people. Having sports professionals from the football club to reiterate this message in an accessible way to young people is so important in letting them know they are not alone.”

For more information about the Trust’s community projects visit

For more information about Brentford FC’s psychologist, visit

World Cerebral Palsy Day: Jordi’s story

As part of World Cerebral Palsy Day (6th October), we are highlighting a fantastic story about one individual who has attended Cardiff City FC Foundation’s sessions for over seven years.

Jordi, who is now 12 years old, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of two, with his disability having the most impact on his legs as well as his arms and torso from time to time.

Jordi has been using a Kaye walker in everyday life, but luckily was “born with a happy and sunny personality which has enabled him to cope with his disability in a remarkable way” says his Mum, Natalie.

The Bluebirds Charity run a number of PAN disability sessions funded by Children in Need throughout the week, which uses sport as a tool to encourage physical health and activity, social interaction and improve confidence.

Natalie said: “I took Jordi along to a session just before his fifth birthday, and it was the first sporting activity he had ever taken part in. After attending these sessions, it has inspired Jordi to go on and try other sports like tennis, swimming and cricket,” she says.

Jordi has had three separate surgical procedures in the time he has been attending the disability sessions run by the Bluebirds Charity, seeing him have his Achilles’ tendons extended, consistent Botox in his legs and most recently, re-adjusting his femurs with the hope that he’ll eventually be able to walk unaided.

Natalie added: “Jordi really does enjoy the sessions; they were one of a kind when we were looking and we’re now so grateful that they were running because it’s helped him so much. The other sports that Jordi took part in sort of faded away, whereas the Children in Need sessions have been ever-present.”

Jordi was recently rewarded by the Foundation for his hard work and positive attitude to recover from his recent operation by being given a mascot position, leading the Bluebirds out against Brighton at Cardiff City Stadium. Giving Jordi the opportunity to take part in sport despite his disability has seen him take a huge step in achieving his full potential.

Jordi was also recently named as the Foundation’s Community Participant of the Year at Cardiff City FC’s 2019 Awards Night after showing dedication and passion to our Bluebirds Ability sessions.

Jordi said: “The sessions on a Sunday are very good, I wouldn’t miss them for the world. They really help me improve my football skills and I’ve made loads of new friends.”

Cardiff City FC Community Foundation is celebrating 10 years of changing lives. Over the last 10 years the Bluebirds Charity has invested more than £10 million into sport and education programmes in local communities and supported over 230,000 individuals to achieve their full potential.

Chloe Palmer: “Football and coaching enables me to channel my emotions in a positive way.”

Chloe Palmer, pictured right

Coaching at her local Community Trust was not something Chloe Palmer could have envisaged when she lost all confidence and reached a very low point in her life a few years ago.

Chloe, was introduced to Exeter CITY Community Trust (CCT) in January 2018 thanks to the Amber Foundation, a charity which helps homeless and unemployed young people move on to positive and independent futures. Working with the organisation has rekindled her love for football and coaching and given her a positive outlook on the future.

She says the support from the charity and structure of her role has been the key to helping her with her personal progression after battling mental health issues.

She says: “My life got a bit chaotic and my mental health went downhill quite quickly whilst I was at college.

“I was also left sofa surfing, with no stability and no routine. It was when I was living with one of my close friends down in Plymouth that my support worker at the time put me in touch with Amber Foundation.

“They then got me involved with the Opportunity Hub at Exeter CITY Community Trust and from there my passion for football and coaching came back.”

Chloe, from Plymouth, currently volunteers as coach at CCT’s DS Active Down’s syndrome sessions, Powerchair sessions and on disability holiday courses. She is also a member of CCT’s women’s Ability Counts team – a team which offer adults with mental health issues, learning difficulties and physical impairments the opportunity to engage in regular, structured, professional and fun physical training sessions.

She states that playing football and coaching has given her a purpose and a pathway to look forward to in her life.

She adds: “I had no confidence and low self-esteem before I went to Amber and started working with CCT.

“My anxiety was through the roof, to the point where I couldn’t really leave the house.

“But for the first time, I was around people who didn’t give up on me and I started to actually believe in myself and build a routine back in my life.”

Chloe credits the coaching opportunities at Exeter CITY Community Trust for giving her a more positive outlook on life and finds the responsibility to inspire, motivate and watch the development in others very fulfilling.

As she looks towards the future, she hopes to put her new skills into practice and achieve her goal of becoming a support worker.

“Football and coaching takes my mind off everything else and enables me to channel my emotions in a positive way.

“It feels good to be able to inspire and have an impact on the kids’ lives and then to actually see them develop and put the things you have taught them into a game, it makes you very proud.

“One day I would like to be a support worker and work with children with autism, so doing what I’m currently doing can only really help me achieve that.”

Will Allan, Disability Officer at Exeter CITY Community Trust, has seen Chloe progress since she first started volunteering in the summer of 2018, he says:

“Chloe has become a key member of the Exeter CITY Community Trust’s disability coaching team.

“She has a natural talent for coaching children and young people and is fantastic at connecting with some of our less confident players.

“She inspires them to get involved and helps them to achieve their best at every session.”


NCS Graduate named as National Youth Ambassador

NCS Graduate, Connor Burleigh from Doncaster has been recognised nationally for his work in the community.

Connor will today take his place amongst fifty inspirational youth ambassadors who will lead on a high profile national #iwill campaign aimed at encouraging young people to take an active part in their community. These remarkable 10-20 year olds hail from all walks of life and all four nations of the country…but they have one thing in common – a passion that drives them to help others.

Connor is an EFL Trust NCS Graduate who took part in the life-changing programme in the summer of 2018 with Club Doncaster Foundation. He has since gone on to make a huge difference in the community as part of Doncaster’s Youth Council for a number of years, he has also been awarded the Princess Diana Award for his work on anti-bullying in schools as well as renovating a playground for children with disabilities whilst on NCS.

Connor is also part of his regional NCS Youth Board where he is a voice for thousands of young adults across Yorkshire & Humber. He is one of eight new #iwill ambassadors to come from NCS and believes his experience on NCS has supported his passion to make change.

“Having already been involved in Doncaster’s Youth Council, NCS opened my eyes and gave me a better understanding of the community I live in.

“It was amazing to be given the platform to make a positive difference through my teams social action project at Rossington’s Family Hub where we renovated the playground for the use of children with disability.

“The role of an #iwill Amabassador is something I am hugely passionate about. Raising both the profile of young adults’ potential and also challenging the perception that people have of young adults my age is vital.”

“Stories like these demonstrate the difference any individual can make early on in life,” said Rania Marandos, CEO of Step Up to Serve, which coordinates the #iwill campaign. “Young people all across the UK are reaching out to members of their communities – peers, parents, teachers, youth workers – to create positive change together through campaigning, mentoring, fundraising or volunteering. Since 2013, #iwill has become a powerful cross-sector movement of over 1,000 organisations committed to transforming the role of young people in society.”

Director of Operations, EFL Trust, Mike Evans has said;

“Through NCS we know the potential of young adults and the positive impact they can make in the community if given the opportunity.

“We are delighted that Connor has been selected as an #iwill Ambassador. The EFL Trust are strong advocates of #iwill and have supported the campaign for a number of years. There is a synergy between NCS and #iwill and through both we want to ensure that young adults have the platform to make positive change in the community they grew up in.”

The new cohort of #iwill Ambassadors is being recognised at a special one-off event at The Great Hall, University of Birmingham. They will come together today to explore – with other young people, campaign partners and decision-makers – what more needs to be done to grow the power of young people to take action, have their voices heard and make a positive difference.

Poetry in Motion as Cardiff City striker Isaac Vassell swaps football pitch for the classroom

Cardiff City striker Isaac Vassell joined the Cardiff City FC Foundation, the official charity of Cardiff City Football Club, as they paid a visit to Maerdy Community Primary School to celebrate National Poetry Day.   

National Poetry Day, the UK-wide celebration of poetry, takes place every year with a new theme, which this year – the 25th anniversary – is Truth.

Pupils from Year 6 were inspired by Isaac, using their creative writing skills to come up with their own, unique pieces of poetry surrounding how important truth and trust can be on a football pitch, before showing the confidence to stand up and read their creations in front of their classmates.

The lesson aimed to improve children’s confidence in reading and writing, whilst also helping them to articulate and develop their confidence in oracy skills.

National Poetry Day generates an explosion of activity nationwide, celebrating poetry’s power to bring people together and inspiring children to explore their imaginative minds.

Speaking at the event, Vassell said: “It’s so important that primary school children develop their reading and writing skills. Moving forward in their lives, they need to be confident in being able to speak and write their ideas down. I’m glad that I can help.”

The visit was organised as part of the Premier League Primary Stars project, a project that provides opportunities for pupils and teachers to further develop themselves.

The Bluebirds Charity recently celebrated 10 years of changing lives, during which time it has invested over £10 million in sport and education programmes across South Wales.

‘Goals worth talking about’ campaign launched to mark World Mental Health Day

The English Football League (EFL) and their charity partner, Mind, have today launched an awareness campaign for World Mental Health Day 2019, Goals Worth Talking About.

Football fans at a number of EFL Clubs across the country have voted for their club’s most iconic EFL moment; each of which is set to be immortalised as street art in their respective cities.

The murals will appear around the country with the aim of highlighting how football is often a conversation starter, and the importance of talking when it comes to mental health support.

The campaign is the latest activity by the EFL and Mind, who are currently in Year Two of their ground-breaking charity partnership which aims to improve the nation’s mental health and wellbeing and the approach to mental health in football.

Fans from Sunderland, Leeds United, Preston North End, Bristol City, Bristol Rovers, Cardiff City, West Bromwich Albion and Leyton Orient have voted for their favourite EFL goals via their club’s social channels and can look forward to seeing the goals brought to life through live street art in key city centre locations.

Running from the 3 October until World Mental Health Day on the 10 October, a new piece of artwork will be created in a different city each day, before photography of the murals will be displayed at special gallery exhibition in London.

Debbie Jevans, EFL Executive Chair, said, “The EFL is proud to be associated with Mind as our charity partner and we are pleased to be able to work together to highlight the challenges around mental health on World Mental Health Day.

“The power of football and the Club badge provides a platform like no other and through the Goals Worth Talking About campaign and the EFL’s wider partnership with Mind, we aim to continue to encourage conversations and improve the approach to mental health in both football and in the wider society.”

Paul Farmer Chief Executive of Mind said, “We know that football and emotion go hand in hand. That’s why we’re delighted to be marking World Mental Health Day this year with Goals Worth Talking About, as part of our charity partnership with the EFL.

“Football has the power to bring about real change. We hope that by harnessing the passion and emotion fans have about their clubs’ most significant goal through these fantastic pieces of street art, we can encourage more people to start up conversations about their emotions and ultimately their mental health too.

“Together, Mind and the EFL hope that Goals Worth Talking About can be the inspiration to people to make their first step to getting support.”

Last month, the EFL launched a new phase of Mind’s national sports programme, ‘Get Set to Go’, which is being expanded thanks to fundraising through Mind’s partnership with the EFL. The programme is nationwide and aims to support people with mental health problems to get more active as a way to improve their mental wellbeing. The Club Community Organisations of Charlton Athletic, Millwall, AFC Wimbledon, Carlisle United, Newport County, Sheffield Weds, Stevenage and Sunderland are all partnering with their local Mind for the project.

To find out more about the campaign, please visit:

For advice and support please visit:

Bernie: “Just because you’re getting older, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new or do something different.”

For lifelong Latics fan Bernie Green, the opportunity to engage in a range of activities at the stadium she has been attending for 40 years was one she couldn’t turn down.

EFL Trust’s Extra Time Hubs are run at 12 EFL Clubs around the country and are funderd by the National Lottery and Sport England. The Hubs are designed to bring retired and semi-retired people together by harnessing the power of their local Football Clubs and ultimately aimed at combating loneliness and inactivity.

And for Latics season ticket holder Bernie, the opportunity to be part of the programme has been beneficial to her and one she is really enjoying.

She explained: “I started coming after I saw an advert in the local paper and it was something I was very interested in.

“I recently lost my husband six months ago and it leaves a big hole in your life, and you’re looking for something to fill it. I wanted something different to what I normally do.

“I felt like this was home in a way, because I’ve been coming to this stadium for so many years and had such fabulous times here.

“I’ve been following the Latics for over 40 years and seen so many ups and downs. I was at the FA Cup final, which was unbelievable, but it’s like having a little piece of Wigan Athletic coming here.

Studies show that 42% of those over the age of 55 are inactive. EFL Trust’s own research revealed many people would like the opportunity to meet peers to feel less isolated, live well and do the things they enjoy.

The Hubs harness the unique assets of the EFL Club Community Organisations (CCOs) network to bring older people together and provide a range of activities that could benefit their physical and mental health.

Bernie has been a regular participant of Extra Time Hubs and believes it hasn’t only benefitted her but also those in a similar position across the Wigan borough.

“It’s important for togetherness for a start. We are all in the same boat and we are all looking for something to challenge us.

“Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean that you can’t learn something new or do something different. That’s the whole point of it, to make you think in another way, not just your brain but also your body as well.

“I love chatting to everybody, and doing the quizzes, they are quite the brain teasers! I really enjoy the table tennis too, which is funny because I haven’t played it since I was little. I really enjoy that and of course it keeps me active too.

“I’ve made other friends coming here, and I feel like I’ve known them forever.”