Mental wellbeing teams contend for second national Football Therapy Cup title
Following the huge success of the first national Football Therapy Cup tournament last year, 16 teams yesterday went head to head in a bid to be crowned the Football Therapy Cup champions of 2015. The Croydon Eagles and Everton in the Community battled for the title, with Croydon taking the victory 1-0 and being crowned champions.
Run by Lewes FC and national charity Together for Mental Wellbeing, the Cup saw mental wellbeing teams from the length and breadth of the country come together to experience the thrill and excitement of competing in a national tournament. Each team was a well-established group of people who regularly play five-a-side football because they value the huge positive effects it has on their mental wellbeing.
Football Therapy is a programme delivered by Together in partnership with Lewes FC, and it runs throughout the year as part of Newhaven Your Way, a community mental health support service run by Together. The programme was devised in September 2013 by Sean MacLeod, who works as a Support Worker for Your Way and also sits on the Board of Directors for Lewes FC.
As well as the widely recognised benefits of physical activity on mental health, Football Therapy creates a space for people with experience of mental health issues to enjoy a social activity that can also improve their concentration and self-esteem. It offers an inclusive and relaxed space for people to talk about their experiences, and appeals to groups that sometimes find it hard to seek support for their mental health, such as younger men.
Sean MacLeod, Founder of Football Therapy, said:
“It’s been an amazing day, and I’d like to thank all of the teams who have been part of this tournament – some of whom have travelled a long way to get here! Congratulations to Croydon Eagles for winning the trophy for the first time, I look forward to welcoming them back next year to defend it!”
Liz Felton, CEO at Together for Mental Wellbeing said:
“The Football Therapy Cup is a great example of how sport can play a part in improving people’s mental wellbeing. We all know that taking exercise can lift your mood, but having a regular organised group like Football Therapy gives people an extra incentive to get involved, and opens up the possibility for conversations and connections that wouldn’t happen otherwise.
Part of our approach to supporting people is to reconnect them to themselves and their community, and football therapy is a really fun and sociable way to achieve this.”
Adam Wolecki, Community Development Manager, Lewes Football Club, said:
“Football Therapy is a project we are immensely proud of at Lewes FC, working with Together for Mental Wellbeing and not only seeing how successful it has been but the real changes it makes to individuals’ lives is priceless. This is why we are delighted to host the Football Therapy Cup for the second year. After last year’s success it is great to welcome our friends from all over the country again to this fantastic event. “
The following teams competed in the event: AITC Health 1, AITC Health 2, Cardiff City FC, Charlton Athletic, Creative Support FC, Croydon Eagles, Everton IYG, Heads On Wanderers, Hellingly Hotshots, James Street Elite, Lawn Court, Lewes CFC 1, Lewes CFC 2, Plas Madoc Warriors, QPR Healthy Kickers and Victory Hants.
This year’s Football Therapy Cup was supported by Kick it Out, the Football Supporters’ Federation and Sussex FA.