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'All to Play For' Mental Health Football Sessions

Aaron Roberts Published: 01 April 2023

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All to play for

A men’s mental health project for football lovers is launching in Wymondham on Tuesday 18th April at Ketts Park, from 1:30-2:30pm.

The project is called All to Play For and is a partnership project between Active Norfolk, NSFT, South Norfolk & Broadland District Councils and sports delivery organisations. It offers free football sessions every week throughout the year. The football sessions act as a hook for engagement for men who are either at risk of or who are managing pre-existing mental health issues. Given that men are more likely to be clinically disengaged, the project uses physical activity and peer support as the platform to engage and support. Sessions are friendly, inclusive and adopt a really strong peer-to-peer support approach providing a safe environment for any man 18+ to meet other like-minded men, exercise and become more connected within their community. There is no eligibility criteria to attend sessions, any man whether engaged in support services or not may attend and no pre-signup is needed, the sessions will be drop-in with a short questionnaire to complete on arrival.

A coach/facilitator will be present at every session alongside regular attendance from the wellbeing service and Active Norfolk. The sessions will also act as a hook to increase accessibility to more holistic health and wellbeing support services. All to Play For adopts a model of integration where after consultation with every man (through a questionnaire and/or verbal) we are able to take a ‘whole person’ approach and invite the necessary support services to attend sessions off the back of what the demand is. This way we can bring support to the individual. Across Norfolk to date, we’ve had services attend and give advice, guidance and direct referrals around wellbeing/mental health, employment, housing, finance, drugs and alcohol and many more.

We are currently seeking organisations in place that may be working with vulnerable men and we’d love to be able to support partner services by establishing a two way referral pathway to and from their service to All to Play For.

This can be hugely beneficial for men accessing mental health services to meet other like-minded men and to connect them to the support locally they need. For any questions or to get involved email Sam Watts on sam.watts@activenorfolk.org or Aaron Roberts on aaron.roberts@activenorfolk.org.

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