An amateur football club is hoping to take a stand in the battle to support people with their mental health by submitting a funding bid to hold free sport therapy sessions for members of the public.
Wigan Cosmos, who are based at Fosters Playing Fields in Ince, have revealed plans to introduce the Finding Space programme, which is a project that aims to use sport as a therapy tool to help individuals improve their mental well-being.
The two-hour sessions are aimed at anyone who would like to better their mental state-of-mind, or physical health, with friends, carers and support workers also welcome to join in at Wigan Cosmos.
The main focus and itinerary of the project is to tackle mental health by using sport as a therapy to reduce stress, develop coping strategies, and empowering participants with the belief that they can overcome their personal battles with the joy of sport.
During the sessions, Wigan Cosmos will provide friendly coaching and matches led by an FA qualified coach, for all abilities, with the main emphasis being on having fun, and socialising with other participants.
Adjacent to the ‘Finding Space’ programme, Wigan Cosmos also plan to run an all-inclusive ‘Jumpers for Goalposts’ football drop-in session which will allow young people and adults to turn up and play football in a organised set-up that is overseen by coaches.
In order to gain the required financial resources, Wigan Cosmos have applied to Aviva’s Community fund for an £10,000 grant to begin their sport therapy programme.
The Aviva Community fund offers individuals and organisations the chance to secure funding for an important cause in their local community.
After having their submission approved, Wigan Cosmos will now enter a public vote which opened this week.
Wigan Cosmos’ chairman John Pendlebury said: “It’s just something we need to do as it’s having a massive impact on people’s lives. There are too many lives being lost, and we can’t just sit around and do nothing. We can’t stand idle whilst people are losing their lives, it’s like an epidemic and it’s growing.
“Good mental health is fundamental to thriving in life. It is the essence of who we are and how we experience the world.
“Yet, compared to physical health, so little is commonly known about mental ill health and how to prevent it. That must change.”
Neil Sankey, who is a mental health champion in the town, wanted to jump on board with helping Wigan Cosmos.
He said: “I have a passion for mental health and football. Unfortunately due to my disability, I’m not able to play the latter but as soon as John mentioned what he was doing I expressed an interest. I have mental health issues myself along with my disability and I want to help people who also struggle.
If you would like to vote for Wigan Cosmos’ projects in Aviva’s funding scheme, please visit https://www.aviva.co.uk/services-and-support/more-from-aviva/aviva-community-fund/. https://www.aviva.co.uk/services-and-support/more-from-aviva/aviva-community-fund/.