The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation which was developed by The Sport and Recreational Alliance and Professional Players Federation and is backed by Mind, aims to use sport to reduce stigma and encourage positive conversation about mental health.
Since 2007, LPFF has been delivering Coping Through Football, a mental health project delivered alongside North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) and Leyton Orient Trust, using football to help people with mental health problems get their lives back on track.
LPFF also runs Green Hearts, a project which encourages local residents to walk, jog or run around the perimeter of its grounds which are marked with quarter-mile posts to help them track their progress.
Alex Welsh, Chief Executive of LPFF, said: “We signed up to The Mental Health Charter in 2016 because many of the messages of our Coping Through Football project aligned with the objectives of the Charter such as using sport to promote good mental health and wellbeing.”
Coming to football gets me out the house for a couple of hours. I get to socialise with the lads, we talk, laugh and joke with each other.
During the first Covid-19 crisis when sport was forbidden, our Coping Through Football service users were supported remotely by the NEFLT Project Coordinator and Peer Recovery Worker to check on their wellbeing and offer any necessary support.
Following the relaxation of restrictions in the summer, sessions resumed using fewer numbers and adhering to social distancing measures.
One Coping Through Football (CTF) service user said: “When CTF opened again it gave me confidence that CTF was going to keep going. When they put us into lockdown, I didn’t know if the project would close for good. To keep getting funding the sessions have to keep running. If we close down that could be it, for good, that was going through my mind a lot. My dad heard about some charities which closed for good. Coming to football gets me out the house for a couple of hours. I get to socialise with the lads, we talk, laugh and joke with each other.”
Whilst London has been in lockdown we have also opened all of our grounds for local residents to walk, jog or run around in order to give them the opportunity to exercise.
A local resident to Douglas Eyre Sports Centre said: “I have relied heavily on the Green Hearts trail at Douglas Eyre during lockdown to help maintain my fitness as well as use the expanse of green space to help relax. The outdoor space the playing fields provide is amazing and it allows one to focus on objects that are truly far away which relax the eyes and the mind.”