Everton in the Community recently welcomed guests from Northern Ireland to Goodison Park for a Physical Activity, Sport and Mental Health Conference.
On Tuesday 22 August, the Club’s official charity hosted a variety of organisations from Northern Ireland, who learned about EitC’s award-winning partnership work with Edge Hill University and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.
The day was led by Everton in the Community’s Director of Health and Sport, Michael Salla, who presented an overview of the charity’s innovative programmes that support and aid over 20,000 local people each year, as well as giving a short address on its ‘Knowsley Veterans Hub’ programme, which supports ex-military personnel with the transition back into civilian life.
Edge Hill University, Everton’s academic partners for the last five years, then presented on their unique relationship with the charity, including the award-winning ‘Tackling the Blues’ project, Sport England-funded initiative ‘Active Blues’, and its ‘first of kind’ Masters Programme in Physical Activity, Sport and Mental Health.
The day then saw Elaine Darbyshire, Mersey Care Executive Director of Communications and Governance, present on its innovative use of the ‘Life Rooms’ to connect with communities, as well as its model of Recovery College courses and how Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust has engaged with service users through partners such as Everton in the Community over the decade.
The delegation from Northern Ireland, led by Eye Feel Good – a charity formed after fantastic treatment received for eye cancer at Liverpool Royal and Clatterbridge by the wife of founder Richard Fee - included the Police Service of NI, Social Enterprise NI and a host of third sector organisations.
The aim of the day was to learn more about how organisations across the city-region work together to link sport, physical activity and mental health to support health and wellbeing. Other partners to present on the day included State of Mind, Warrington Wolves and Liverpool City Council.
Reflecting on the day, EitC’s Michael Salla said: “It was a great event that provided an insight to our guests on how each organisation engages with their target audience and their methods of securing long-term behaviour change, as well as their approach to evaluation.”