With #WorldMentalHealthDay approaching, it is important to highlight the work taking place across Scotland to ensure that our players feel part of our #SameTeam.
We know how important social interaction is for our mental health, the past 18 months or so proves so. Providing that connection and sense of belonging is our primary focus across all of our sessions and has been at the core of what we do since 2009.
Football is a great tool to bring people together, but its about far more than just a game.
Our programmes are fully inclusive and aim to create hope and opportunity, empowering players to make positive changes in their lives.
Sport and physical activity has benefits for both physical and mental wellbeing and our player-first focus allows us to deliver engaging sessions in safe environments. With experienced staff in all of our locations, players are quickly aware of the emotional support on offer whenever they need it.
Having invested in dedicated Mental Health workers in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the opening of our Change Centre in Dundee and our growing programmes in Aberdeen, we hope that players around Scotland always feel part of the Street Soccer family wherever they go.
Here’s what is going in each of our cities and how you can get involved:
With our appointment of Mental Health Officer Sean Humphreys, players in Edinburgh now have access to experienced and qualified emotional support on request. “A well kent face” across a number of the capital’s weekly sessions, Sean has worked closely with staff to produce a number of accessible mental health projects for our players.
In conjunction with WorkingRite, Sean has created an additional opportunity for Street Soccer players to work on their mental health and wellbeing, in addition to their employability skills, through the existing ten-week course delivered in Portobello.
Players in the capital have also had the chance to participate in the Scottish Mental Health & Wellbeing League, who partner with the SFA to deliver match days in professional grounds across the country. This is a great opportunity for our players to play in new places and interact with individuals who are on similar mental health journey’s.
Working closely with DadsWork across 2021, Edinburgh regional manager Robbie Wood has helped deliver session in Prestonpans to parents in East Lothian, developing their confidence, fitness and mental health through weekly football themed sessions.
Robbie has also introduced walking football in Leith Links every Monday, partnering with Leith Athletic to offer free football in a safe and controlled environment for players of all ages. The session has grown in numbers since beginning in July, with players enjoying conditioned games in a friendly environment.
In addition to this, our very popular walking group continues to welcome new faces. This group was integral for our players throughout lockdown periods and Robbie is keen for this to progress whilst safe throughout the winter.
If any of the above sounds like it would benefit you or someone you know, please do not hesitate to get in touch, all of our programmes are fully inclusive and we are happy to answer any queries around them.
Robbie Wood, Edinburgh Regional Manager – [email protected]
Sean Humphreys, Edinburgh Mental Health Officer – [email protected]
Our Glasgow team, working out of Powerleague Glasgow, have created a welcoming environment for players from all walks of life and continues to be one of the most vibrant places to be during the week.
Our varied programmes for both males and females have clear mental health benefits, and our Mental Health Officer Michael Woods has recently started a specific Mental Health & Wellbeing session, creating a safe space for players to discuss their feelings and concerns among mental health professionals. This sessions takes place every Wednesday at 11am.
We are lucky to have such amazing partners supporting our sessions such as GAMH, Lauretto Care, Wheatley Care, SAMH and Mens Matter. Emotional one to one support is also available with Michael on request.
Our Street 45 sessions are aimed at females looking for a bit of fitness and fun, but our coordinator Sarah Rhind and her amazing team of volunteers are always on hand to support players on their journey’s for positive change. Sessions are not limited to football, with boxing, Zumba and other activities very popular in Glasgow each and every week.
Our Glasgow team have lived experience and know how important sport and physical activity is to improving their mental health. Having progressed through their own journey’s; Ross, Rab, Michael, Jamie, Sarah and the rest are always on hand for a chat and will endeavour to do what they can to ensure our players are safe, comfortable and enjoying our sessions.
With different sessions on from Monday to Friday at Powerleague, we encourage anyone who is keen to get involved to contact one of the team to learn more about how they could benefit from Street Soccer.
Ross Alexander, Glasgow Regional Manager – [email protected]
Sarah Rhind, Womens Programme Coordinator – [email protected]
Michael Woods, Glasgow Mental Health Officer – [email protected]
With the opening of our amazing new Change Centre, players across the city now have access to a safe space no matter the occasion.
The Change Centre concept was developed back in 2017 and has been further developed in to a fully functional community space, creating a full-time home for our players and our partners.
Players have access to this facility whenever they need it and are in consistent dialogue with staff to find out how we can help and how they can help us. That’s the #SameTeam.
We are proud to have so many great partners who support our players in so many different ways. Long-standing partners We Are With You have introduced a number of individuals who have progressed along the player pathway, with many now helping others as Street Soccer sessional workers.
In addition to this, we are pleased to have Andy’s Mans Club in the Change Centre every Monday, who will be delivering their sessions from our educational zones. We hope using the power of partnership will help our players and individuals across the local community with their mental health.
Our multi-purpose hub in Dundee offers opportunity for players no matter their background, so if you want to find out more, please get in touch.
Davie MacKenzie, Dundee Regional Manager – [email protected]
Growing numbers in Aberdeen have allowed us to focus on more personal development opportunities for our players, as well as more one to one time for those in need.
A number of players have also progressed in to volunteering roles, allowing players access to more quality sessions across the week, as we establish ourselves in the Granite city.
With the resource in place, we are looking forward to welcoming more partners in to our programmes in Aberdeen, with our regional manager Peter Wood on hand to support at every session. With strong partnerships already in place, our players can benefit from the experienced staff from Penumbra, SAMH, Inspire, Aberdeen Mental Health Team, No one gets left behind among many more.
If you are looking to get involved with free football in Aberdeen and find out more about how we can help you, please reach out.
Peter Wood, Aberdeen Regional Manager – [email protected]