On World Mental Health Day, evertonfc.com is championing the work of its award-winning charitable arm, Everton in the Community by reflecting and celebrating its pioneering work in mental health over the past 12 months.
The charity became the first Premier League Club in 2008 to appoint a full-time mental health co-ordinator, and since then, Everton in the Community has led the way in supporting individuals with mental health issues whilst raising awareness and challenging the stigma of mental health in its community and beyond.
This year, the charity’s work in mental health received a Royal approval from the Duke of Cambridge as he visited The People’s Hub as part of the Heads Up Campaign, praising the charity for taking the lead in tackling the stigma around mental health and going above and beyond with its innovative delivery.
Tackling the Blues, an education-based mental health literacy programme and Everton Veterans’ Hub (EVH) were both awarded external funding to expand on the charity’s provision. Whilst EVH manager, Dave Curtis was shortlisted for English Veterans ‘Inspiration of the Year’, the programme itself was shortlisted for English Veterans’ health and wellbeing award.
In addition to continuing to deliver its existing delivery whilst adapting to the measures put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Club’s charitable arm has also expanded its delivery by introducing a monthly mental health drop-in service, where members of the local community are able to speak to EitC staff in a confidential environment and access wellbeing related support. This service was continued during lockdown through a well-being referral pathway established, ran in parallel to Everton and Everton in the Community’s Blue Family campaign.
In partnership with Southport and Formby Cancer Support Centre , the charity launched the ‘Keep Moving Cancer Support’ rehabilitation service, offering health and wellness activities for individuals who are post-surgery or post-treatment from any cancer diagnosis. Furthermore, ‘Hanging Up Our Boots Together’ successfully began in September 2019 to support retired or nearly retired individuals with their transition out of employment and alleviate the health and wellbeing related risks associated with this life change.
Another of EitC’s mental health projects, Imagine Your Goals featured in ‘EU best practice guidelines’ endorsed by the European Commission, whilst EitC’s mental health provision was highlighted at the Houses of Parliament to the All Parliamentary Group for Global Health and at the Euro League ‘One Team’ conference in Barcelona.
With Everton in the Community’s face to face delivery coming to a halt in March due to COVID-19, the charity’s staff adapted to the situation with a range of online engagement sessions which have been developed to support Everton in the Community participants, Everton fans and the wider community. From weekly coffee mornings and physical activity sessions to online mental health awareness courses and accredited online Dementia Friends training, with the aim to remain engaged with the charity’s supporters and participants whilst also upskilling their awareness in key health issues during the period of lockdown. To date, over 100 online activity sessions were delivered with over 415 unique participants engaged.