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Due to our Saturday session not able to go ahead tomorrow because of the extremely low temperatures and us unable to get a replacement pitch at short notice I thought I would be good to have a look back at the progression so far……

On the 29th July 2023 we launched Mental Health FC with our very first session in which 11 people turned up.
We were so happy that we had at least 10 as it meant we could do 5 aside

And from then on numbers kept growing and fast!!

I realised a lot more people wanted to get involved but couldn’t due to the day and time it was on, and so the Monday session was born

Up to present we’ve had 25 sessions.
515 have attended.
188 goals scored.
Our record attendance is currently 30 players at one session.
2 weekly sessions (soon to be 3 in Feb).
We have around 50 regulars over the two sessions.
Around 60-70 people have attended overall.

It’s been so rewarding and positive to see people attending quite anxious and shy and over time they grow in confidence, their mental health improves as well as their fitness.

What’s amazing is all the different people that are coming together to play a sport they love while supporting each other.
Different backgrounds, genders, abilities, appearances, ages, fitness levels etc it really doesn’t matter.

It’s such a relaxed, welcoming and stress free environment where everyone is welcomed, supported and encouraged and you can really hear this all the way through the sessions.

Every week we’re getting new people turning up.
We also have local gps, pharmacies and other supportive mental health organisations around Doncaster and South Yorkshire are recommending MHFC to help people suffering.

Some real friendships and connections have been born through our sessions.

We’ve had some very open and honest conversations both during the sessions as well as after the sessions during the refreshments and chat.
It’s great that people feel comfortable to be open about their struggles and it’s just as great to see the supportive and encouraging responses from our team and other players to help them.

It’s fantastic to hear through messages, comments and in person how people were struggling but came across MHFC and after only one session felt the benefits and after several they felt the long term benefits.

Not bad to say the project has only been running just over 4 months!!

Our ultimate goal is to have most people in the UK 30mins or less from one of our sessions, so we hope to have at least one in every town or city throughout the UK.
We’ll be adding to our sessions by adding a third in February in Conisbrough on Thursday nights.

We’ve had many challenges along the way, just like this Saturdays session with a frozen pitch and each time we’re learning about how we can resolve it and make things better.

Before adding anymore sessions in the future we need to make sure the project is sustainable and we can cover the cost of at least these three weekly sessions which is going to be difficult.

As well as launching more sessions throughout the UK we also have other plans to help and support people…..
– Kids sessions
– Women’s only sessions
– Surprises for some people who attend MHFC sessions
– Team building days for each area like go karting, paint balling etc
– MHFC CalmBox at football stadiums
– Kids school holiday camps
– Charity tournament
– Coaching session
– Mental health training
– As well as potentially looking to support professional footballers and referees with mental health (including players who get released)

Thank you to all the people who attend our sessions and have pushed through the anxiety to get involved especially for that first session but we hope it’s helped you and can continue to help you.

A massive shoutout to the team behind MHFC who help me manage the sessions and help with decisions on a daily basis, we all support each other…. Dan, Mark, Adam, Stuart, Ben, Steve

Thank you so much to our current sponsors:
Utopia Design & Marketing

And also a massive thank you to the organisations who have helped with funding so we can put the sessions on, The National Lottery Community Fund, SIA in Doncaster, Doncaster Council, Sheffield FA and Well Doncaster.

If you own a business or know someone who does that would be interested in supporting our project please get in touch.
As well as supporting a fantastic local project the business also gets promotion and exposure in return.

If anyone would like to donate to our project you can find the info on our website.

You can see on this post some of my favourite photos from the sessions we’ve had so far.

Thank you so much for all the support so far, Ryan

PLEASE give it a share so we can reach and help more people around Doncaster and tag anyone who may be interested ⚽️



#MHFC #MentalHealthFC #MentalHealthMatters