To celebrate World Mental Health Day on 10th October, Coping Through Football, the transformational project that works to improve the wellbeing of young to mid-life adults who have enduring mental illness, invited the Wanstead-based group ‘East Living’ and Arsenal’s ‘Imagine Your Goals’ project to join them in a five-a-side tournament to be played at the Score Centre’s 3G facility in the shadow of the Matchroom Stadium. Fortunately, the forecasted rain did not appear and the six teams enjoyed the afternoon’s competition, with the closely fought final eventually won on penalties by one of the Arsenal teams.
The service users welcomed Leyton Orient players Yohann Lasimant and Jayden Stockley to the session and enjoyed spending time talking to them. The players refereed matches and then presented the winners’ medals and player awards.
The ‘Coping Through Football’ project emphasises the value of self-improvement and having a positive attitude so alongside the Player of the Tournament award, the event provided the opportunity to acknowledge the progress of individuals who throughout their time with the project had demonstrated an improvement in their playing ability or who had shown great commitment to the project.
Jayden commented, “I’ve really enjoyed coming down and being involved. I’ve learned a lot in just this short time and I’m also impressed with the high standard of some of the players. Everyone has really had a good time and it’s been a pleasure attending.”
Coping Through Football runs twice a week and has been led for the last year by community development coach Howard Gould who said, “The project has grown since its inception and I’m just glad I’ve been able to maintain its success. It’s not about becoming a footballer; it’s about reclaiming confidence, working in a group, working on social skills and making friends. Not to say the football isn’t important. Obviously it’s the catalyst and there are certainly winners in the group. This particular tournament is now a successful annual event and we have recently introduced various life-skill workshops too. There is also demand for 11-a-side matches on a more regular basis so that is something we are now working towards and our friends at Arsenal are ideal adversaries! We will continue to look to progress as the scheme has proven positive outcomes.”
If you would like to find out more about the project, please go to:- www.copingthroughfootball.org
Or contact Sonia Smith, Occupational Therapist, Waltham Forest Access & Assessment Team, Coping Through Football Project Co-ordinator, 26 Low Hall Lane, Walthamstow E17 8BE Tel: 0300 555 1242 ext 8471