Man Utd's Daniel James and Wigan mental health campaigner catch up on video call

Manchester United star Daniel James caught up with a Wigan dad to hear how support for mental health issues has continued throughout this year’s pandemic.

Manchester United star Daniel James caught up with a Wigan dad to hear how support for mental health issues has continued throughout this year’s pandemic.

The Welsh winger took time out of his hectic schedule for a video call with Beech Hill dad Peter Hill, to hear about how Place 2 Place FC had been adapting to the issues presented by this year’s events.

Dad-of-two Peter started Place 2 Place FC in 2017, as a way of easing more men into opening up about their mental health issues.

Daniel had visited Place 2 Place FC in February, swapping the bright lights of Old Trafford for the Astro Turf of Winstanley on a cold and windy night, to see the five-a-side teams in action.

He spent more than two hours posing for pictures with fans in the cold, as well as chatting to players and learning about how Place 2 Place had helped them open up about their feelings in a relaxed and casual manner.

On the call, Daniel, 22, told Peter: “It was just amazing, what a family club it was.

“There were so many people there, it was great to hear everyone’s story.”

Dan James on the video call

“So many people are glad that you were there for them.”

He added: “I think it’s really brought people together as a family, and people have created friends for life there.”

The national lockdown was imposed not long after Daniel’s visit, forcing Peter and co. to think outside the box about how to carry on their mission.

The league has managed to slowly bring back its players, on a less frequent basis, to make sure they could keep active and continue their vital conversations, but is now heading into the second national lockdown until at least early December.

Peter Hill on the call

Peter said: “We’re just trying to keep going at the moment.

“Things got pretty tough for a while, for a lot of our players.

“We started a Place 2 Place online football team. They played with each other with their headsets on, still chatting, still focussing on football, still focussing fundamentally on what we do.”

Place 2 Place’s efforts to help people through their struggles have received a whirlwind of praise since its formation. Most recently, Peter was crowned the North West Unsung Hero at the 2019 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, leading to a charity song collaboration with Rick Astley.

Dan and Peter talk about Place 2 Place during a visit in February

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