Everton in the Community developed an exercise programme called ‘Imagine Your Goals’ in 2007, which has since benefited hundreds of people across Merseyside. The programme offers local people who are living with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, an opportunity to talk about their problems and seek help and support in a familiar environment.
Imagine Your Goals
In 2008 local NHS partner Mersey Care NHS Trust jointly funded an initial three-year programme with the Premier League Community Fund, enabling Everton to become the first Premier League club in the country to appoint a full-time mental health football co-ordinator.
Working with Mersey Care NHS staff has enabled Everton to build on its coaching workshops with six sessions now provided at sites across Merseyside. It also led to the creation of Merseyside’s first mental health football league and the programme is now accessed by around 150 players each week.
Mersey Care NHS Trust continues to work with Everton in the Community and has funded the scheme for a further two years to enable local people to continue to access this programme.
There have been many successes from the programme, including players who have improved their fitness, feel better within themselves, have made friends and gone on to undertake coaching qualifications, volunteering and employment.
Imagine Your Goals has been adopted by other Premier League clubs up and down the country and has received several prestigious awards including the 2010 Sports Industry Award for ‘Best Community Programme’, 2010 North West Football Award for ‘Best Community Project of the Year’ and the 2010 Tony Adams Award for ‘Positive Mental Health’.
For more information call Johnnie Garside, mental health football co-ordinator, on 0151 530 5253.