Walsall FC Community Programme have started a ‘Beat the Block’ football session at the Banks’s Stadium, focused on promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.
Supported by National Lottery Community Fund, ‘Beat the Block’ is a one-hour football session on the stadium Astro Turf followed by a 30 minute social – observing government guidelines with Covid-19 measures in place throughout.
The Wednesday mornings (10.30am – 12pm) consist of two sessions – a positive wellbeing football session and Over 50s Walking Football.
Chris Springthorpe, Health Officer at the Community Programme, said: “It’s great to begin ‘Beat the Block’ again, this time with the walking football element for the older players too.
“The link between physical and mental health is strong. We’re hoping getting people active in the session and talking with them afterwards will go a long way towards helping.
“The government ‘lockdown’ period has had an effect on many people’s mental health, so we’re pleased we can offer the programme with Covid-19 measures in place.”
Following a successful pilot programme with local partners, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Walsall Rethink, the National Lottery funding has now allowed the session to run for years to come.
Samantha Farley, O.T. Technician for Early Intervention in Psychosis at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The sessions have been beneficial to all who have attended.
“’Beat the Block’ has helped to improve individuals’ mental health symptoms such as reducing anxiety and lifting mood, as well as being a good form of distraction.”
“It is such a brilliant programme to help improve mental health and tackle the barriers and stigma.”
Martin Berry, who works a Mental Health Recovery Worker for Walsall Rethink, has also attended Walsall FCCP’s Walking Football sessions for a number of years.
He added: “It’s fantastic that WFCCP are working so hard to promote positive mental health across Walsall.
“Both ‘Beat the Block’ and Walking Football have already proved beneficial to many players of all ages, helping them to make new friends, increase confidence and improve self-esteem.”
To enquire about joining either of our Beat the Block sessions, please contact Community Health Officer Chris Springthorpe, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or head to walsallfccp.com/mentalhealth.
Find out more about the National Lottery Community Fund’s projects at tnlcommunityfund.org.uk.