Think With Your Feet

Participants in Middlesbrough FC kits huddle up for a team talk

Football is increasingly being recognised as a valuable tool for practical mental health therapy, and MFC Foundation is very much at the forefront of this endeavour.

MFC Foundation’s ‘Think with Your Feet’ mental health football sessions have rapidly expanded since they began in February 2015 and this is mainly due to the ever growing partnership with MIND and their ‘Get set to go project’ which refers service users into our weekly football sessions.

As well as weekly football session participants are also given the opportunity to represent MFC Foundation in national competitions ran by similar initiatives at other football clubs.

The team, currently ranked 1st in the country after winning the National Mental Health Championships hosted by Everton in the Community, have won a range of silverware this year after wins in Northampton, Derby and Rotherham. Alongside this a group of participants were lucky enough to go to Munich, thanks to fundraising and sponsors, and compete in the EASI-Regenbogen-Cup which they also won in extra time.

The impact of the sessions goes above and beyond keeping fit and playing football.

“Not so long ago, I tried to kill myself and was also harming myself. Now, through football and MFC Foundation’s football team I can see a point to my life. I enjoy spending time there and have made loads of friends. All the lads and the coaches are superb, I love playing with MFC Foundation – I love the Boro, but not as much as the Boro loves me.” – Think With Your Feet participant

We also hold an annual Social Inclusion tournament, which this year alongside Everton’s National Championships, was the joint biggest tournament in the UK attracting teams from as far as Carlisle and Wrexham.

If you would like to know more, please email claire.streeter@mfcfoundation.co.uk

 

MFC Foundation Join Daughters And Dads Active And Empowered Project

We’re delighted to announce we will be part of the Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered project for the next two years.

Women in Sport, in partnership with the Fatherhood Institute, EFL Trust and the University of Newcastle (Australia), is excited to announce that we are the latest to join a growing band supporting this initiative.

We’ll join Leyton Orient Trust, The Albion Foundation (West Bromwich Albion), Foundation of Light (Sunderland AFC) and the Stoke City Community Trust for year two of the project, alongside Fulham FC Foundation, who were part of the project’s inaugural pilot year.

In total, six clubs will deliver the programme for the next two years, supported by Sport England’s Families Fund through National Lottery funding.

The Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered programme has been developed by the University of Newcastle (Australia) and Professor Philip Morgan and his team.

The programme aims to increase physical activity levels, sports skills and social-emotional wellbeing of girls 5-11 years by challenging stereotypes about playing sport and physical activity and increase fathers’ confidence and ability to act as role models in relation to their daughter’s participation.

Rachel Horsley, Girls Football Lead Officer here at MFC Foundation, said: The philosophy behind the programme is very much in keeping with many of our own. We reach across the area with many programmes, but this one is just that little bit different. Programmes like Daughters and Dads help everyone come together, not just the dads and their daughters. Some find it easier than others to show their feelings, or to actively support and encourage. This programme helps on so many levels. It helps emotionally and physically and brings an understanding that the two work together – just like dads and their daughters.”

Eleven families took part in the project’s inaugural year, and the programme had a great impact on those that took part.  Initial findings suggest:

  • Father and father-figures on the programme mentioned growing a stronger bond with their daughters and suggested they would increase the amount of family activity they do as a result of taking part.
  • All the girls that took part in the project showed a strong belief that girls are just as capable as boys at physical activity and should be able to enjoy the same opportunities, both individually and with their family.

Women in Sport and the project partners will explore these initial findings in greater depth with a larger sample size to understand any significant impact in year two and three.

Lee Warren, Innovation Manager for the DAD Project, said: We’re delighted to have five new clubs involved in this project for the next two years alongside continuing our partnership with Fulham who have built strong foundations. We’ve already started to see the impact that the Daughters and Dads Active and Empowered programme can have on its participants and the long-term lifestyle changes that it can deliver. We’re looking forward to seeing these clubs support more families in their local communities to get active.”

Mike Diaper, Executive Director Children, Young People and Tackling Inactivity, at Sport England said: Following a successful first year of testing the Daughters and Dads programme, we are really pleased that our National Lottery investment can now help to extend its reach into new areas across England.   We know that we need to continue to do more to help girls and less affluent families get active, and one thing that hinders this are gender stereotypes that can cause families to believe that physical activity is less important for girls than boys.  We also know that parents and carers often see their role as helpers and less as role models in encouraging their children to be active. This programme, based on a model from Australia, is addressing these challenges and we look forward to seeing the results of this in the North East, West Midlands and London.”

For more information on the Research and Advice Service and Women in Sport’s work visit www.womeninsport.org.