HRH The Earl of Wessex has presented Everton in the Community with the Mental Health Award, sponsored by Hiscox, at the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s Community Sport and Recreation Awards.
The official charity of Everton Football Club, which offers more than 40 programmes covering a range of social issues including health and crime, received a cheque for £1,000 at a ceremony in London earlier this month.
Running for more than 20 years, the Community Sport and Recreation Awards celebrate the work clubs, groups and organisations across the UK deliver in their local communities to promote the power of sport and recreation.
Everton in the Community works in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust to deliver the programme, Imagine Your Goals, which uses the power of football to positively address mental health illness by raising awareness and challenging societal stigma. The programme supports people across Merseyside by providing weekly therapy football sessions.
Imagine Your Goals also organises the longest standing mental health football league in the UK involving 16 community mental health teams and 200 players each month. The league helps to build players’ resilience through confidential and accessible support through their unique football therapy sessions.
Phil Duffy, Executive Director at Everton in the Community, said: “Everton in the Community, working in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, continually strive to improve the health and wellbeing of our local community. An important way we do this is by raising awareness of mental health and challenging stigma. We are delighted that our work has been recognised in this way by the Community Sport and Recreation Awards. We will use the prize money to continue our work, share best practice and champion the therapeutic use of football for mental wellbeing.”
Andrew Moss, Chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, added: “The power of sport and recreation to help raise awareness of mental health and challenge the stigma is something that we are incredibly passionate about. Everton in the Community, through a collaborative partnership, has been able to make a significant difference to people in the local community who are experiencing mental health problems. Everton in the Community are a dedicated signatory of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation and we hope that more organisations will recognise how joined-up working can really make a true difference to local people and the community.”