Mental Health Awareness Week took place last week throughout the UK and at Tranmere Rovers in the Community, a variety of sport sessions and wellbeing workshops are provided each week for those in need of support.
One of the best attended groups to visit the Prenton Park Recreation Centre is an indoor football session provided by Wirral Ways to Recovery - a drug and alcohol addiction service based in Birkenhead.
Mental Health Awareness Week gives information and support for topics including stress, relationships, loneliness, sleep, alcohol and friendship in your local community.
A number of participants in the Wirral Ways group have battled drug and alcohol addiction throughout their lives and say the weekly football session provides them with a great opportunity to keep fit and connect with their peers.
Group leader Ray said “Our goal is to support service users to achieve and maintain their own vision of recovery. We believe that any individual can change the direction of their life and live life to its full potential.
When the lads come here - there is no judgement, no aggression, just a group of people who want to better themselves and have a positive outlet to look forward to every week.
A lot of those who take part in this session have also started going to other activities throughout the week at the Recreation Centre. It’s great to see sport improve their lives.”
Tranmere Rovers in the Community work with a number of local mental health groups including Wirral Mind and The Spider Project, providing a safe place for those in the community who need support.
Although the men from the Wirral Ways wanted to keep their names private, they were all eager to praise the work that TRIC does with support groups across the peninsula.
Below are a selection of quotes they gave us:
“This is the highlight of everyone’s week - we all look forward to that big energy release and just having the opportunity to feel normal again. Nobody here has any judgement and we’ve all been through a lot but all we care about here is having a kickabout and getting some exercise.”
“It’s fantastic for my mental health, when you’re going through a hard time you normally just want to shut yourself in and suffer in silence but having even just one day to look forward to makes such a big difference.”
“We can all follow each other’s recovery and talk about things openly here, it feels less awkward talking about mental health problems here because we all just come for the football and to get out for a bit. As you start seeing the same people every week you become friends and are able to help each other out a lot more. It’s great for all of us.”
The Wirral Ways to Recovery session takes place Tuesday 3-4pm at the Prenton Park Recreation Centre.
For more information on their services visit: https://www.changegrowlive.org/content/wirral-ways-recovery