Tackling the stigma: Football tournament is soccer success for mental health pt3 of 3 @DudleyCVS @GStGDudley @MarkEvans29 #mentalhealthawarenessweek

We have already shared this brilliant story, but felt it was so inspirational we’d share it again during Mental Health Awareness Week!

“We are the champions!  Dudley’s Atlantic Warriors.” 

The Black Country’s first dedicated mental health football tournament kicked off on Tuesday 22 March at the Portway Lifestyle Centre in Oldbury.

Jointly organised by Dudley Mind’s Get Set to Go project and the Albion Foundation and supported by Mental Health Football UK and Sandwell Leisure Trust, the aim of the tournament was to tackle the stigma of mental health and show the power of sport in improving the wellbeing of people with mental health problems.

Eight teams, with some 53 players, from across the Black Country and as far as Hereford took part and we think they each deserve a mention for making the event the success it was: Get Set to Go Dudley, Atlantic Warriors, Atlantic FC, Gordon Moody, Wolverhampton Community Trust and Cambian House, The Albion Foundation, Creative Support and Hereford Ability Counts. It was a friendly yet very competitive event with each team clearly wanting to lift the trophy.

After the group and knock-out stages, the winners’ final was between Atlantic Warriors and the Gordon Moody team. It was a close fought game which culminated in a penalty shoot-out but in the end it was the Atlantic Warriors team from Dudley who eventually won on sudden death penalties. Our very own Get Set to Go Dudley team won the runners up final, beating Atlantic FC, 1-0.

James Austin, Get Set to Go Dudley Co-ordinator said:

“It was a fantastic event. Every team that took part seemed to really enjoy the tournament and it was great to see so many people with mental health problems enjoying playing football. That’s what the Get Set to Go project is all about. Huge thanks to everyone that took part and helped to organise the event.”

Mark, one of the players from the Gordon Moody team said:” Thanks for today. I thought it was a well run event with a good set of people. We would be more than happy to play again if the opportunity comes up. Thanks again for a great day”.

As one of the outcomes of the event it is hoped that a local ‘wellbeing’ league will be set up where the teams that played, along with new teams for people with mental health problems, can play each other on a regular basis. If you are interested in setting up a team to join the league please contact James Austin on 01384 442938.


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