An initiative set up by The Charitable Football Club has been nominated for a county-wide awards event.
The Head in the Game Thanet project was set up by Mark Pinkney to help men aged 22-55 with their mental health through a combination of physical activity (football) and the use of “Talk Club”, a forum for the participants to talk about the issues they face in their daily lives.
Each week, one of the coaches leads ‘Talk Club’ at the beginning and end of the session. Each man scores himself out of ten as to how he feels right now, and is given the opportunity to say a bit about why he has given that score.
The football coaching session is then led by another coach, and followed by a game of football.
In the periods between national and local lockdowns, Head in the Game Thanet has provided a safe space for like-minded men to have a lot of fun, and has simultaneously given them an opportunity to share as much or as little as they want, knowing that they are not alone.
Nominator Stuart Gay said: ‘I would like to say a big thank you to Mark Pinkney and the team of coaches. They have helped me gain confidence in an atmosphere of trust, support and camaraderie. I am having a new lease of life at the age of 55, playing the ‘beautiful game’ again, and I do believe we are all slowly getting fitter in body and mind.
East Kent Mind is just one of the organisations helping to champion the new Kent Mental Health & Wellbeing Awards, and they are encouraging charities, businesses, schools and community groups to get involved.
Simon Dolby from the awards event team said: “With vaccination numbers climbing we are starting to see the light at the end of the Lockdown tunnel. Now is the time to think about the people and organisations who have helped support us over recent months. This autumn we will celebrate that support.”
Mr Dolby added that although the Covid Lockdown had prompted this pilot event to be staged, he was confident it would become a permanent fixture in the Kent calendar.
“The focus on mental health and wellbeing will not diminish over the coming years and so there will always be a place for an event to celebrate hard work, dedication, great ideas and wellbeing best practice.”
Nominations can be linked to a simple act of kindness that lifted the spirits, a business that has improved staff wellbeing, through to a targeted initiative delivered by a charity, community group or statutory organisation to support a mental health issue.
Submit nominations at www.KentMHWAwards.org.uk For awards news follow @KentMHWAwards on Twitter
The Awards event is supported by East Kent Mind, Kent Community Foundation, Independent Music Productions, Cactus Graphics, Blé Couture Cakes, Ashford International Hotel and Crossways Community.