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Posted on Aug 1 2022 by Fiona Bailey

Just days before the Lionesses' historic victory, St Andrew’s Healthcare hosted its first community football tournament in more than three years in partnership with the Cobblers.

Patients, staff and volunteers joined forces to form two teams who took on five teams from various community services from across Northamptonshire.

Northampton Football Club donated training footballs, NTFC football strips, medals and trophies for all those who were involved, which included representatives from The Bridge, Northampton’s substance misuse programme, the Recovery House and the Northampton Town Football Club’s Community Trust’s disability programme.

Senior Occupational Therapist Craig Newman, who helped organise the event, said: “It was great to once again come together with all the different services from across the county who all share the same purpose which is to deliver innovative and creative sports to all local communities, particularly those who are disadvantaged.

“St Andrew’s progressed to the semi-finals and did themselves proud, narrowly losing to The Bridge, but after four hours of high quality football it was the Recovery House who were victorious and won.

“The feedback from all who attended reflected the great atmosphere and sense of inclusion. 

As a charity, we have always been innovative and looked to promote good practice and leading the way in developing links with local providers. This tournament once again heled showcase St Andrew’s as leaders in providing normalising, socially inclusive interventions that are patient focussed. 

“The patients who were involved spoke about how they felt a huge sense of pride, accomplishment, personal achievement and satisfaction. This demonstrates how football can help transform patients’ lives in building confidence and self-esteem and fostering positive social engagement in valued and meaningful roles.”

Former football player Russell Lewis, who made more than 300 appearances in the Football League playing as a defender for Northampton Town, supported and helped organise and run the event.

He said: “We were thrilled that around 150 people attended the event and during the tournament, all the players demonstrated an excellent attitude and showed outstanding commitment, enthusiasm and effort throughout. It was a fun, but thrilling afternoon.”