Dedicated Mental Health Fixture
With World Mental Health Day occurring on Sunday, 10 October, Saturday afternoon’s fixture against Burton Albion is dedicated to Mind – the EFL’s partner charity.
Football has a hugely important role to play in bringing people together and supporting mental health, and that is most evident in the vital work carried out by the Argyle Community Trust.
In partnership with the football club, the Argyle Community Trust has played a crucial role in minimising the effects of lockdown and social isolation throughout the pandemic, with a number of innovative programmes designed to combat loneliness in our community.
The Trust’s Health & Wellbeing Manager, Ben Kerswell, said: “In partnership with Elder Tree Befriending Service and St Luke’s Hospice, Argyle Community Trust deliver a weekly Walk & Talk session every Tuesday between 10.30am and 11.30am in Central Park.
“This started during the first lockdown as a way to get those that were socially isolated back out into the community and started with four people attending to around 30 each week during the summer.
“Over the summer this also developed into a Compassionate Café which follows on from the walk and gives those who attend an opportunity to meet others and get support from compassionate friends if they have recently gone through bereavement. This takes place at the Central Park Community Sports Hub every Tuesday between 11am and 1pm.”
Argyle Ambassador and former club captain Gary Sawyer joined up with the participants earlier this week to understand how the scheme had helped them through difficult times.
He said: “It’s great, getting out and chatting to people you wouldn’t normally come across – it’s a great activity to get involved in.
“I think it’s paramount that we do support people’s mental health. It’s such a big thing nowadays, and there’s more awareness now. As a Trust, and as people, it’s a really important part of our job.
One of the participants Gary met during the session, Dave Sellick, spoke of the importance of these weekly sessions for his own mental wellbeing, having lost his wife in recent times.
He said: “The lockdown was shocking, I couldn’t get my head around it at all. You couldn’t go out. I found it extremely hard, because I lost my wife only two-and-a-half years ago. The lockdown was rough on me.
“Now, I do two or three things. I go walking, I do a keep fit session on a Wednesday, which I find really good, and I play bowls. It’s all to do with Argyle.
“I follow Plymouth home and away, and it gives me a sense of living, really. I put my heart and soul into it. You don’t feel alone.”
For more information on the mental health charity Mind, visit their website.
Meanwhile, if you are interested in the range of activities and programmes delivered by the Argyle Community Trust, click here for more information.