For many people football is just merely a sport. A passionate one at that, but still no more than a hobby. However for some people the effects of football can be life changing.
This is something that has been picked up by the managers at Carr Gomm. Kevin Fullerton and Derek Black have seen the impact that football can have on those who may suffer from mental health difficulties.
They decided that with Grant funding they could organise a weekly game of fives at the Glasgow Club Gorbals. People from a variety of backgrounds and with a spectrum of health issues could forget their worries and play football in a normal capacity.
Such has been the success of the project, many other support agencies have come to Carr Gomm with a whole number of willing participants. People from Scotia Club House, Richmond and Key Supports have all expressed interest in playing football.
Kevin Fullerton believes that by meeting up and playing football, people can get used to a normal environment:
“It gives the chance for people to work together in a normal capacity. There’s no expectations or form filling, its just a chance to have some fun. We thought it be good to organise a weekly game as it can be a nightmare to get people together for a regular game. This is where we come in and make it easier for folk to come along and play.”
Derek Black also believes that the footballing project has led to other opportunities for those who may have had problems with mental health issues:
“Well the popularity of the idea has grown immensely. It is a welcoming atmosphere and some guys have went on to do other things. There were guys who couldn’t leave the house who are now doing computer courses. We believe this is in part due to the confidence raised by the weekly football.”
Graham is one of many that have reaped the rewards of playing football on a regular basis. He says:
“I used to drink quite heavy but now that’s stopped. I believe the football has given me a purpose in life. I’ve made really good friends, they are like brothers to me. But the main thing is for people to enjoy it and that’s what we all do.”
James is another who takes part:
“The games are played in a good spirit where people are competitive but have fun with it. Another good thing for me is that I’ve got my fitness back.”
For Chris the experience has brought about other opportunities:
“I used to have an extreme lack of confidence, so much so I wouldn’t leave the house. But thanks to the weekly football I began to interact and not only that I get to lose weight. I am now on a 12 week training course at Queens Park. The NHS have funded us in getting our first coaching badge.”
The group have even joined a league and are in their 2nd season after finishing a respectable 9th in their first. Fundraising events have also brought the group together and helped get them a brand spanking new strip. A cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, not an actual outing but the equivalent on exercise bikes, helped raise over £100 for a new football kit.
It is clear to see the good that is coming from such activities. The collective spirit of the group is evident and for those who may want to get into playing football, meeting up and socialising, this is seen as a great stepping stone. If you are interested in playing football on a weekly basis and see yourself working your magic in these games, contact:
Kevin Fullerton on 07730646669 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Derek Black on 07901658690 or email him at email@example.com
Story by David.