Everton in the Community and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s partnership programme ‘Imagine Your Goals’ has received the ‘Sport for Health and Wellbeing Award’ at the prestigious Beyond Sport Global Awards.
Hosted at the One World Observatory in New York on 26 July, ‘Imagine Your Goals’ was awarded first place ahead of TackleAfrica’s ‘Let Her Choose’ programme and i-tri Girls USA ‘Transformation through Triathlon’.
Delivered collaboratively by Everton in the Community and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, ‘Imagine Your Goals’ launched on Merseyside nearly 10 years ago to help promote physical health and mental wellbeing among Mersey Care’s service users and benefits up to 200 mental health services users a week.
Now in its ninth year, the Beyond Sport Global Awards celebrate, support and raise awareness and provide funding for ways sport is being used to help make the Global Goals for sustainable development a reality. The awards ceremony sees grassroots organisations joined by brands, sports teams, leagues and athletes to celebrate the courageous, creative and impactful work being done around the world using sport to promote and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
From 250 entries spanning 70 countries, 37 organizations made the shortlist for the ninth annual Beyond Sport Awards with the 13 outstanding winners all epitomizing how sport can help tackle some of the most pressing social issues in the world today.
In all categories, Everton in the Community was the only football club community scheme worldwide to be shortlisted from organisations across the globe. The official shortlist highlighted a diverse portfolio of work from organisations representing issues such as health, gender, equality, climate change and accessibility and inclusion.
Speaking after the win, Everton in the Community Health and Wellbeing Manager Johnnie Garside said: “It is a cliché but to even be shortlisted was a massive achievement as the calibre of projects and their impact was truly astonishing. To be crowned the winner was a shock and completely overwhelming.
“I was humbled to accept the award on behalf of the fantastically dedicated staff and Imagine Your Goals participants. Our long-term partnership working with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust is making a major and positive difference to the lives of people affected by mental health issues.”
Mersey Care’s Local Services Division Chief Operating Officer Donna Robinson added: “I’m delighted our partnership project has achieved this international recognition. It is a testament to all the hard work and commitment made by our staff, colleagues at Everton in the Community and the involvement and passion of service users who use Imagine Your Goals.”
Launched in 2008 and delivered in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Imagine Your Goals is a ground-breaking fitness programme that offers local people who are living with mental health issues an opportunity to talk about their problems and seek help and support in a familiar environment. The two organisations work together to provide a programme of activities for service users enabling them to access football coaching sessions and education, volunteering and employment opportunities as well as compete in a local league and regional, national and European tournaments. Outcomes for participants on the programme have been evaluated and show significant benefits to their health and social inclusion.
Award winners receive a package of business and strategic support, global industry recognition and access to exclusive partnership opportunities.