The Walking Football Association (WFA) and leading national mental health charity Chasing the Stigma have joined forces to promote the mental health benefits of the sport and to encourage safe participation by people with mental health issues.

With over 40,000 players in the UK, Walking Football is the fastest growing sport aimed at over 50 year old adults, and has proven social, mental and physical health benefits.

Established in 2016 as the National Governing Body for Walking Football in the UK, the WFA is perfectly placed to promote the range of services offered by Chasing the Stigma. Founded by Jake Mills the charity has a sector leading website where individuals can access a wide range of mental health services in their region.

The Charity’s mission of “Normalising and Humanising Mental Illness” involves the establishment of the UK’s most comprehensive mental health support database. Called the Hub of Hope it already has, within a year of launching, over 1200 support groups and charities registered.
Specialist training will be available for Walking Football club organisers.

Chasing the Stigma recently announced a plan to build a mental health centre called the People’s Place in Goodison Park, Liverpool, in conjunction with the leading Football in the Community club, Everton.

Working alongside Edge Hill University, both parties will also work together to explore innovative
research projects to understand the effect of exercise on mental health.

Paul Carr, WFA Chief Executive, is very excited with the potential benefits of the partnership. “We already have a fantastic long term relationship with Prostate Cancer UK, as our official charity, and we see similar synergies with Chasing the Stigma”.

Jake Mills, founder of Chasing the Stigma, said:

We are delighted to be working alongside WFA who are an incredible organisation with a huge reputation not just in the UK but across the world. We have already seen through our work with Everton Football Club that sport can play a really important role in helping people to talk about and look after their mental health. We are really looking forward to being able to help those conversations continue throughout the WFA community.

Everybody, everywhere has mental health. We can all struggle at any given time, at any given age, for any given reason. It is important that we are all aware of what to do if ever our mental health does deteriorate and, most importantly remember, there is never any reason to suffer alone

Author: The WFA