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Posted on May 20 2024 by Bobbie Kelly

Team St Andrew's take part in mental health football match

Around 50 patients, volunteers, peer support workers, escorting staff and spectators from St Andrew’s Healthcare attended Northampton Town Football Club’s (NTFC) sixth annual Heads Up event.

Heads Up is a mental health community football festival held every year at Sixfields Stadium in a bid to raise awareness.

In total nine teams played in the tournament including seven other teams from NTFC, Recovery House and FC Equalise. But it was The Bridge A team who took home the winning trophy.

Craig Newman, Specialist Occupational Therapist at St Andrew’s said: “We had a fantastic turnout from across our charity. The matches were competitive and played with a positive attitude and great team spirit.

“A big thanks to the staff who escorted so many patients to enjoy such a brilliant event in the community. Most importantly a big shout out to the patients for displaying great sportsmanship, commitment and skill both on and off the pitch, with some outstanding individual and team performances throughout the day.”

Russell Lewis, the Disability Officer for NTFC Community Trust said: “Football is a glorious sport as it can really unite people. It’s really quite amazing how the sport can bring people together, as shown by all of the regional mental health services who took part.”

One patient said: “This was one of the best days I have ever had. I would love to come back next year, even after I’ve been discharged.”

Another patient added: “It was such a special day as my family drove all the way from Essex to come and watch me play.”  

It was clear that the St Andrew’s players felt a huge sense of pride when running out onto the ‘Cobblers’ field in their matching attire, which was funded earlier this year by a generous donation from Enterprise Mobility.

The annual Heads Up community football festival is open to people in the community who have mental health conditions. It gives participants the opportunity to play at a professional stadium, which clearly meant so much to the patients, with one of them commenting: “I can’t believe I have played on a professional pitch, it was so amazing. I will never ever forget today. Thank you.”