Goal Difference

Football-Based Mental Wellbeing Project Aims To Make A Difference

Leicester City in the Community are working in partnership with Goal Difference Leicester, with the help of Foxes legend Steve Walsh, to host a weekly programme to support adults with their mental health.

- Leicester City in the Community have partnered with Goal Difference Leicester 
- The pair will deliver a weekly programme with Foxes legend Steve Walsh
- Sessions are to be held at King Power Stadium and start in early 2022
- They aim to help improve people's mental health in a variety of ways

The programme uses football themes, stories and metaphors to help people from a wide range of backgrounds who are presented with a variety of mental health and social problems to address their issues in a unique and positive way.

Goal Difference combines numerous evidence-based psycho-social interventions, in a uniquely innovative and imaginative way that encourages people who might otherwise struggle to open up to talk about how they are feeling.

Sessions will start in the New Year over eight weeks, which will be hosted by Leicester City in the Community at King Power Stadium. 

Matt Bray, Leicester City in the Community's Health and Wellbeing Manager, said: “We have a number of projects to encourage more adults to get active through football, and supporting mental health goes hand in hand.

“This programme has been successfully running for 14 years elsewhere and was something we wanted to replicate in Leicester, hosted at King Power Stadium.”

With sessions taking place at King Power Stadium, that added attraction should allow Leicester City in the Community to work with adults who may be sat on the fence about getting involved.

Steve Walsh

Leicester City legend Steve Walsh added: “It is really important that we do what we can to help people improve their mental health and the Goal Difference programme will do that.

“With sessions taking place at King Power Stadium, that added attraction should allow Leicester City in the Community to work with adults who may be sat on the fence about getting involved.”

Goal Difference Facilitator, Shane Perkins, also explained: “On Goal Difference, each person will set small goals for themselves to try and achieve over the course and we will help people to reach those goals.

“Two years ago, we saw the situation at Stoke and all the guys there said they wouldn’t have come to any talking group that was in a hospital or doctor surgery, but to be at a football stadium is a real draw.”

The programme is based around the formula required to take a struggling football team and turn it into a successful one.

This is done in a step-by-step method:

- Get back to basics and assess strengths and areas for improvement
- Tighten up the defence and cope better with pressure
- Play as a team and get the crowd behind you
- Build confidence and self-belief
- Find the balance between attack and defence/creativity and hard work
- Maintain motivation and winning ways

Using the Five Ways To Wellbeing method (for which Goal Difference uses the acronym B CALM – Benevolence; Connecting; Activity; Learning and Mindfulness), participants will look at topics such as stress, self-awareness, positive self-image and negative impacts on people’s lives, which are all explored over each session. 

For more information, or to register your interest, please contact Matt Bray: matt.bray@lcfc.co.uk.

Further support can be found through the United Leicester Wellbeing Hub, which can be accessed here: www.unitedleicester.com.

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