Coping Through Football

COVID-19 update

Coping through football has recommenced. Due to social distancing restrictions we are delivering football training sessions at Douglas Eyre Sports Centre and Fairlop Oak Playing Field for a limited number of service users. We have adapted our delivery to focus on training and skills development in small groups, with no playing of matches. Attendance at sessions is by invitation only. 

The Project is open to new referrals.

For further information please contact Project Coordinator Sonia Smith on 07538 101450.

The project

The Coping Through Football project is an initiative that demonstrates how two sporting charities, London Playing Fields Foundation (LPFF) and Leyton Orient Trust (LOT), can work with the NHS to produce a sustainable recovery approach to engage with and improve the wellbeing of adults and young people experiencing mental health issues.


The project shows how sport can:

  • help tackle stigma and discrimination
  • can work together with the health sector on shared agendas to reduce inequalities
  • be a tool for engagement with hard to reach groups
  • assist in the recovery of those experiencing mental health issues

The aim is to use the football experience to improve fitness, increase levels of self-esteem and confidence, make new friends and help people get their lives back on track. We do not see ourselves as a football project, but a social inclusion project that uses football as a tool to engage individuals experiencing mental health problems. Many of the users of the project have experienced social exclusion, unemployment and poor physical and mental health.


The project has been extremely successful in helping individuals to turn their lives around and live more independently. It has been recognised by the Department of Health as a model of best practice in the recovery of people with long term mental health problems and our goal is to increase the number of people who would benefit from the project.

Whilst the main activity is football, the real goal is about social inclusion. Users who attend the project do so for a number of reasons: to improve fitness and health, make more friends, improve their football skills, or to achieve a vocational goal.


Currently the project runs adult sessions and specific sessions for young people in Waltham Forest (Douglas Eyre and SCORE Centre) and Redbridge (Fairlop Oak Playing Field). All sessions are free.

Day Time Venue Age group
Monday 2pm - 4pm Fairlop Oak playing field Adult
Monday 4pm - 5:30pm Fairlop Oak playing field 12 - 17 years
Tuesday 2pm - 4pm Douglas Eyre sports centre Adult
Tuesday 4pm - 5:30pm Douglas Eyre sports centre 12 - 17 years
Wednesday 2:30 - 4pm Fairlop Oak playing field Adult
Thursday 2pm - 4pm Douglas Eyre sports centre Adult

Christmas / New Year break

Last sessions:

  • Fairlop Oak Playing Field – Wednesday 16 December 2020
  • Douglas Eyre Sports Centre – Thursday 17 December 2020

Returning on:

  • Douglas Eyre Sports Centre – Tuesday 5 January 2021
  • Fairlop Oak Playing Field – Wednesday 6 January 2021

Referral process

Information on the referral process for clinicians, staff or service users can be obtained from the Coping Through Football Project Coordinator, Sonia Smith:

Tel: 07538 101450

For more information, visit