A new partnership will place mental health up front and centre this season as Grimsby Town join forces with leading social enterprise NAViGO.
The two local organisations want to positively impact mental health and wellbeing through football.
Encouraging conversation, breaking stigma, improving understanding and promoting the importance of conversation are high on the agenda as well as informing people where to access help and support.
NAViGO Chief Executive Simon Beeton said: “As two local organisations proudly embedded in the local community, it seems natural for us to team up.
“We know that football can have a positive impact on both mental and physical health as well as tackle social isolation.
“But there’s a real opportunity here to also change perception and break stigma around mental health while reaching a wide range of local people.
“Not only do we want to encourage people to get talking to each other, we want to show all of those individuals who attend matches, watch socially or play it where they can get support when they need it.”
As part of the partnership, NAViGO have acquired two season tickets to offer to their service users throughout the 2022/23 campaign.
In addition to the season tickets, the two organisations are also looking at new community initiatives and activities with Grimsby Town Sports & Education Trust.
This may include delivering sports programmes to support people with mental health problems to aid recovery and manage symptoms; including improvements to physical health, to relieve stress, improve relaxation or enable social inclusion.
Other ideas will explore opportunities to work with local dementia patients, create accessible drop-in sessions and support service user leisure activities.
Guidance and resources will be given to the club to help them support the mental health of staff and players and opportunities explored to support young people who don’t graduate from academy programmes to professional football.
The partnership will run across social media and in-person events and activities across the 22/23 season.
Grimsby Town Chief Executive Debbie Cook said: “I am delighted that we have joined forces with NAViGO to positively impact the lives of everyone associated with the Club.
“Many people will encounter mental health struggles at some point in their lives, and I think it’s important that the football club encourages conversation around such an important topic and plays a part in trying to break the stigma around it.
“We are proud to welcome NAViGO’s service users to our games and we hope the experience, of coming to Blundell Park on a match day can help aid recovery, manage symptoms and support mental health and wellbeing.
“The football club will be working closely with NAViGO throughout the season to provide specialist support for our fans, staff and players in an attempt to promote positive mental health. As a football club we are committed to staff and player wellbeing.
“This additional support from NAViGO will complement the Employee Assistance Programme already in place for Grimsby Town FC’s staff. Our Academy is currently recruiting a Player Care Co-ordinator and we have a member of the first team staff who takes responsibility for co-ordinating players’ support needs. This partnership adds to that which is already in place.”
Both NAViGO and Grimsby Town are keen to hear ideas from fans, service users and the wider community. Anyone interested in getting involved can contact NAViGO by visiting navigocare.co.uk or NAViGO’s social media channels.
Let’s support Town. Let’s support ourselves. Let’s support each other.
Anyone struggling with their mental health can telephone 01472 256256 option 3, Freephone 08081 968442, text ORANGE to 85258 or visit navigocare.co.uk.