Everton in the Community’s women’s mental health and wellbeing project ‘Girls on Side’ has teamed up with Nuffield Health to increase its support for females across Liverpool living with mental health problems.
Launched in June 2014 with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, ‘Girls on Side’ is an inclusive activity project that provides a range of engaging and exciting sessions. It not only offers a range of therapeutic activities including the chance to learn new skills, but also helps stimulate participants’ imagination, build confidence and increase social contact.
The free activities range from Zumba, baking and web design to walking groups, spa pamper days and photography, with a focus on supporting women who use Mersey Care’s mental health and addiction services through their recovery.
This summer, Everton’s official charity initially provided a six-week physical activity programme, led by the expert staff at Nuffield Health, Liverpool. As part of the exclusive package ‘Girls on Side’ participants received a pre-activity health MOT to measure baseline health and wellbeing indicators and received a post-activity health MOT after the six weeks to see what improvements have been made.
Such has been the positive impact on participants that feedback has been overwhelming to request for the programme to continue beyond the initial six weeks at Nuffield Health. The comprehensive programme is designed to improve the ladies’ overall health and wellbeing, while providing motivation to inspire sustained behaviour change.
One participant said: “If I’m being honest gyms scare me, they are quite intimidating places, so when we discussed about starting a programme at a big gym I was not up for it. After the initial apprehension about going, the ladies and project staff really supported me to overcome these fears and from not exercising for many years I now find myself loving every minute of it and can’t wait for the next session.”
Girls on Side project manager, Johnnie Garside, said: “A major highlight of this ground-breaking partnership was when one of ladies completed the full session in week four. She started in week one, only being able to last 15 minutes and after chatting about it and discussing motivation to improve we set a target of completing a full session before the six weeks was up. She managed to do by week four and was met with rapturous applause from the other ladies which was such a special moment!”
Paul Whiting, general manager, Nuffield Health Liverpool, added: “As part of our continued support of Everton in the Community, we are pleased to support the Girls On Side and hope to have a positive and lasting impact on their lives.”