Following the pandemic, mental health issues are seeing a rise and the ‘Don’t Tackle it Alone’ campaign has been set up in a bid to encourage young people to join the Stevenage FC Foundation’s Premier League Kicks Programme, making friends and getting a chance to open up about problems.
Research has revealed that through the pandemic, the younger generation has struggled most with mental health.
Thameslink wants to focus on this age group and aims to support vulnerable people in the communities it serves with this campaign building on its ongoing focus on mental wellbeing in partnership with the club.
At the launch of the campaign players from the Academy and First Teams wore kits which were specially designed featuring the message: ‘Don’t Tackle It Alone. We Are All In This Together, Always.’
The long-standing partnership between Stevenage FC and Thameslink has now grown to include working with Stevenage FC Foundation, which aims to get young people involved in sport and meet new friends whilst building confidence through the Stevenage FC Foundation Premier League Kicks programme.
Funded by Premier League Kicks and Sport England, the Kicks programme uses football as an approach to provide young people with a support network alongside somewhere constructive to let off steam.
The scheme so far has seen a 50% reduction in anti-social behaviour in local communities with the added benefit of offering people a safe space to meet.
Stevenage FC Foundation utilises the scheme in order to reach those who need support the most, encouraging young people aged 8 to 19 years of age to get active with sessions taking place at Baldock, Welwyn Garden City or Stevenage.
Tom Moran, Managing Director for Thameslink and Great Northern said:
“We work hard to make our stations a welcoming place to be, but with a lack of places to meet safely, the spaces can sometimes be used for antisocial behaviour. This scheme helps to tackle this by providing young people with a more positive way to spend their time. It’s great to be able to join forces with Stevenage FC to encourage even more individuals to attend.”
Joe Goude, Chief Executive of Stevenge FC Foundation, added:
“Our Kicks programme aims to inspire more young people in the Stevenage area to realise their potential from both a playing and life skills perspective. It’s so important that we provide a place to build connections, engage in open dialogue and ultimately create a tight-knit community, and we can only do this by working alongside supportive partners, like Thameslink, to spread the message.”
Also supported by Stevenage Young People’s Healthy Hub, the campaign provides a central access point for young people aged 11 to 17 who are in need of support with mental, emotional, physical or lifestyle-related health needs. The Young People’s Healthy Hub runs from Tuesday to Thursday from 3.30pm to 6.30pm at the moment and delivers a range of programmes and outreach events offered at flexible times outside of the open hours making it more accessible to young people, pupils and their parents after the school day and over the weekend.
A spokesman for Stevenage Borough Council said:
“We know from experience that wellbeing can be improved by creating connection, being active and learning something new – and we’re delighted that Thameslink and Stevenage FC’s new campaign encourages all of these positive actions. For young people aged 11-17 who might be struggling, the Young People’s Healthy Hub is here to help find you the right support – please Don’t Tackle It Alone.”