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Albion in the Community’s football sessions help improve mental wellbeing

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Carl Venkatarao first heard about Albion in the Community’s mental wellbeing football sessions four years ago when he was referred by the NHS Community mental health service in Worthing. After a low period for Carl where he had spent more time at home and put-on weight after leaving his job, he was looking to get healthy, active and lose weight.

As a child, Carl was diagnosed with learning difficulties which resulted in him moving to Palatine school, a special educational needs and disability school in Worthing which is where Carl first developed a love for football.

Following his referral to the mental wellbeing football sessions, Carl has been able to get active, put in place a new structure and routine and make new friends.

During his time with Albion in the Community, Carl has attended over 300 sessions. When he first joined got involved, he was a quiet person, but he has made new friends, feels more confident socially and has grown to become an integral part of the group.

Carl reflected: “The sessions have helped me a lot and I now have two really close friends from them in Kieran and Mike.”

These friendships now extend beyond the football sessions and whilst in normal times that means socialising together, all of them have maintained contact online instead during the past year, including at the charity’s weekly Zoom social sessions.

Stewart Teeder, Albion in the Community’s inclusion and disability development officer describes how proud he is of Carl’s progress: “Having met Carl at his first session, I am very proud of his progress and he is one of the key people now in our mental wellbeing group because he is so friendly and funny and always plays with a big smile on his face.”

For Carl himself, he is full of praise for Albion in the Community: “The coaches are all so friendly and great at helping people improve and I’ve enjoyed the opportunities to meet new people. I’ve had family and friends notice me being happier now and that is down to my football.”

While the charity is currently unable to resume regular in-person activities, weekly Zoom sessions have been beneficial for participants like Carl to continue to engage and be supported through the pandemic.

For more information about Albion in the Community’s mental wellbeing football sessions email: disability@albioninthecommunity.org.uk or visit: albioninthecommunity.org.uk.

 

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