Walsall FC Community Programme’s ‘Beat the Block’ players completed a ‘Mile for Mind’ before their session yesterday, to mark this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
The initiative, led by national charity and EFL partner Mind, encourages people of all ages and abilities to complete a mile, raising awareness and vital funds for mental health in the process.
Walsall FCCP participants lapped the perimeter of the Banks’s Stadium pitch, before setting foot on the grass to enjoy a one-off session inside the ground.
One Beat the Block player, Maurice Willetts, started attending the positive wellbeing sessions earlier this year, after recent struggles with his mental health.
Known by friends as “Mozza”, he has gone above and beyond as a positive voice to raise awareness on social media, and is tackling his own 100 mile challenge in May to raise funds for Mind.
Maurice said: “In October last year I went through a bad patch and I did try and commit suicide. That’s when it hit home that there were issues there, so I started doing something about it.
“I look forward to ‘Beat the Block’ sessions every Wednesday. Not just getting out there and exercising, but also seeing that there are other people in the same position helps too.”
“It’s that camaraderie you have with each other. You can get out there, kick a ball about and it’s really good fun.”
The ‘Beat the Block’ session formed part of a day of community activities on the stadium pitch yesterday, including a Post 16 Football & Education fixture against Wolves, and an evening Walking Football festival.
Community Director Adam Davy used to coach Maurice as a youngster on community activities in the 1990s.
He said: “I bumped into “Mozza” late last year and he spoke about having some issues with his mental health. I gave him some information about our Beat the Block sessions and it has been great to see him attending now that lockdowns have been lifted.
“It’s fantastic that he is so open about his mental health and Mozza is a real positive role model for anyone else who may be struggling.
“I urge everyone to support his fundraising for Mind this month, and donate to the cause if you can.”
You can support Maurice’s fundraising effort by heading to https://www.facebook.com/donate/247195963854814/, or search for ‘Maurice Willetts’ on Facebook to keep up to date with his progress.
For more information on Walsall FC Community Programme’s Beat the Block sessions, head to walsallfccp.com/mentalhealth, or email Health Officer Chris Springthorpe on email@example.com.