Coping Through Football

  • Award Entered:
    London Legacy Award
  • Parent Organisation:
  • Project Host Nation:
    Waltham Forest
  • Overview of Project:
    Coping Through Football is a ground-breaking project delivered in London Borough of Waltham Forest since 2007. It demonstrates how two sports charities (London Playing Fields Foundation and Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme) can work with the statutory health service (North East London Foundation Trust) to create a sustainable recovery model for one of society’s most marginalised groups, the long term mentally ill. The project aims to help people diagnosed with enduring mental illness to engage more fully with their current care provision, enhance their mental wellbeing and improve their physical health. The project’s outcomes are to: • Raise the group’s self-esteem and confidence • Improve the group’s interactive skills • Improve the group’s commitment to participating regularly in physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle Coping Through Football is not a sports project in the traditional sense, it is a social inclusion project which uses football as a tool to engage with a hard to reach group. Alongside the twice weekly football sessions, the project encourages participants to access mainstream activities such as training courses, commercial five-a-side leagues and Football League matches. Healthy lifestyle workshops focusing on issues such as smoking cessation and healthy eating have been delivered to the service users. Interest in these sessions has increased as the participants have begun to understand the positive impact that a healthy lifestyle could have on their performance on the pitch. All participants are referred to the project via NELFT and they undergo a physical and mental health assessment before joining the activity sessions. The Project Coordinator, seconded from NELFT, undertakes quarterly interviews with participants as part of a system of robust monitoring and evaluation using recognized assessment tools. A bespoke computer package has been designed to manage the project data.

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