On Friday 7th April, Creative support’s Blackburn service teamed up with The University of Central Lancashire (UClan) to host a social inclusion football tournament to promote positive mental health and wellbeing.
Organised specifically for people with mental health and other care needs, the tournament brought together teams from all over Lancashire and further afield including teams from Derby, Wrexham and Everton.
The event was organised to support social inclusion amongst vulnerable people and to help encourage all participants to meet new people, engage in physical exercise, try something new and build confidence.
Paul Hardman, support co-ordinator for Creative Support’s Social Inclusion and Floating Support Service in Blackburn, commented: “The use of football as a therapy and a means to engage with difficult to reach communities has significantly increased over recent years. It provides a level playing field for all concerned and encourages physical and emotional wellbeing as well as a natural environment to socialise, make friends and support each other. UCLan and Blackburn Rovers Community Trust share our vision and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership to help as many people as possible on their road to recovery.”
Creative Support’s Blackburn service is also working with the University to develop women’s football in the town. Cathryn O’Meara, a Volunteer at the Blackburn Service who has taken the lead on the project has said, “Although football is a predominantly male sport the need for more women to get involved is evident by the number of ladies who turn up each week at the Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre.” Cathryn has teamed up with Cian McEvoy, the Football Development Officer at UCLan Sports Arena to run the sessions. “Cian makes the sessions interesting, fun and not so serious enabling us to support and encourage our peers.”
Teams involved in the Social Inclusion tournament:
Wrexham DFC (2 teams) – Wrexham DSA FC is an all abilities football team covering all Disabilities, Mental health, Social Inclusion and anything that disables you from life.
Blackburn Brasilia (2 teams) – These two teams represent Creative Support’s Blackburn service. Creative Support is a not for profit provider of personalised services – supporting people to enjoy their lives and reach their full potential.
Men Dive In FC – Representing Blackburn with Darwen Community CVS. Connecting People & Growing Communities. Supporting vulnerable people & community groups in Blackburn with Darwen and beyond, to drive social action.
Discover Dynamos (2 teams) – Preston based team representing Phoenix Futures, a charity and housing association providing services for people affected by substance misuse
Discover Dynamo’s Z (Winners of Challenge Cup):
Kemple View – This Langho based service represents Partnerships in Care, one of the largest and most experienced providers of specialist care across the UK.
Everton IYG – Imagine Your Goals is a community based football programme run by Everton in the Community and Mersey Care NHS Trust
Derby County CT – Derby County Community Trust – Using the power of Derby County Football Club to improve the lives of the people of Derbyshire through participation in sport.
Derby County Community Trust (Winners of Challenge shield):
AFG Wigan – Alternative Futures Group is a charity providing person-centred support to adults with learning disabilities & mental health needs.
Madrid 5 – Representing the Blackburn with Darwen Leaving Care Team
Soccerholics R Us – Soccerholics ‘R’ are a small but talented group of UEFA coaches looking to provide Organised, Fun, Football sessions in and around Shropshire & Powys.
Soccerholics ‘R’ (Winners of the Fair Play Award):
Go 2 FC – Blackburn based Young people’s drug and alcohol service.