They may have faced off on the pitch, but sporty Wiganers were united in their bid to highlight mental health with an ambitious charity football tournament.
Place 2 Place FC, which uses the game to help end stigma around men’s mental health, swapped its usual five-a-side pitches for the turf of the DW Stadium for an 11-a-side match raising £1263 in funds and awareness of its cause.
There was an impressive turn-out at the stadium as players got the full professional experience, having use of the changing rooms and getting to walk out of the tunnel onto the pitch.
The tournament saw Place 2 Place FC go down to fellow local amateur teams Geo Athletic Dens Allstars by 2-1 and 3-1 respectively.
The club joined forces for the tournament with Ince-based Talk First, a charity which offers mediation services for families across the borough, while bus company Stagecoach Manchester sponsored the mascots’ football kits, which were presented to children to wear before they walked the players onto the pitch, as well as providing transport to the stadium for the players.
Peter Hill, the founder of Place 2 Place, said the event was a huge boost in the bid to get more people speaking openly about mental health issues. He said: “The support from local businesses and the wider community is vital in order for Place 2 Place to provide help to all of those who need it, through both platforms to discuss their own personal wellbeing and advice from our team on how to help improve mental health.
“As a result, we’re grateful to Stagecoach and Talk First for throwing their support behind this event and I’m just relieved the game had some goals so we sent everyone home happy!”
Elisabeth Tasker, managing director for Stagecoach Manchester, said: “Discussions around mental health are far more common now than they have been in my lifetime, but there is still work to do, particularly with young and middle-aged men.
Suicide is the biggest killer of people within this demographic and as a result we’re keen to help raise awareness of events within the local community which provide a platform to promote a better mental health as well as giving people a place to chat.”
To find out more, visit facebook.com/place2placefc