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Together hosts second national Football Therapy Cup tournament at Lewes FC

Posted on 30, April 2015

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Yesterday, Together welcomed 16 mental wellbeing teams from the length and breadth of the country to the Dripping Pan Stadium to compete in the second national Football Therapy Cup tournament.

After fighting off some tough competition, the Croydon Eagles and Everton in the Community battled for the title, with Croydon taking the victory 1-0 and being crowned the Football Therapy Cup champions 2015.

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. The Cup was a great opportunity for these teams to come together and experience the thrill and excitement of competing in a national tournament.

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.

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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: “I started running free football sessions as part of my volunteering role with Newhaven Your Way, as there was nothing like this happening in the local area. It was so popular that it seemed a good idea to hold a tournament and get other wellbeing teams involved, and things just took off from there. It’s great to see what an amazing tool something like football can be in people’s recovery.”

Liz Felton, CEO at Together 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. “

We would like to extend a special thank you to Kick it Out, the Football Supporters’ Federation, Sussex FA and the Recovery Kitchen for supporting this year’s tournament.