Coping Through Football - A Special Guest Visit | News and events

Coping Through Football - A Special Guest Visit | News and events

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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway.

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Coping Through Football - A Special Guest Visit

On Monday 16 January, Leyton Orient’s Head Coach, Richie Wellens, visited our Coping Through Football initiative to speak to participants and take part in the session.

Coping Through Football is a joint initiative with London Playing Fields Foundation (LPFF) and Leyton Orient Trust (LOT), which aims to use the football experience to improve fitness, increase self-esteem and confidence, make new friends and help people get their lives back on track. It's a social inclusion project that uses football as a tool to engage individuals experiencing mental health problems. 

Speaking at the session, Wellens said:

"They give an environment for people who are struggling to come out of their houses, enjoy football, and it's about them being comfortable and enjoying themselves.

"It's a brilliant initiative, and hopefully we can see many more like this in the area."

Leyton Orient, who have enjoyed great success since Wellens took over the side last season, currently sit top of EFL League Two.

Sonia Smith, Occupational Therapist and Project Coordinator for the project, said:

‘The Coping Through Football project provides an opportunity to do things differently, offering support that is positive and creative, to help improve the mental wellbeing of its participants . It offers a place to belong , a welcoming , safe place , it’s great to see how the participants grow in confidence and be more able to deal with the challenges in their lives whilst supporting their peers’. 

Below are some quotes from participants who have found the project valuable,

‘I like football. I find the training really good. I feel happy after the group and I’m really enjoying it. Socialising and talking with people is good for my mental health and physical health’

‘I like to socialise with people that come to Coping Through Football.  The training makes me feel good after the session as it’s making me a better player. I’m feeling more confident as a player and also more confident on a personal level.’

‘It has given my son a safe space to practice sport that he loves while learning new skills to help him with emotional challenges or interacting with others. (Coping Through Football) enables him to socialise, regulate, and keep active. I honest don’t know what we would done without. He really loves attending and loves the staff and his new friends.’