A new scheme working with young people aged 16-30 who are living with poor mental health is due to be launched by Thanet council.
The project, which will start at the end of October, has been developed following a successful grant from the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner’s Mental Health and Policing Fund. It will provide those referred to the service the opportunity to obtain a free Community Sports Leaders Level 2 qualification, as well as be provided with ongoing support, training, and links into volunteering, or employment opportunities.
Candidates will learn practical and theoretical sports leadership to give them the skills to lead sessions in the local community. Each of the two pilot cohorts will last 8 weeks, ending in March 2018.
Sporting Minds aims to tackle the stigma that clouds mental ill-health and give those taking part the confidence and skills to further excel in life. The project also aims to use the huge benefits that sport and physical activity can have to improve an person’s mood, happiness and confidence.
The project will be delivered by qualified sports tutors, with support from local and national partners including Mind, Sports Leaders UK, Kent Sport, Royal British legion industries, Street Games, Porchlight and Your Leisure.
Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: “I created the Mental Health and Policing Fund to support schemes that reflect my commitment to reducing the pressure on policing due to mental health issues.
“Around a third of Kent Police time is spent dealing with incidents of mental health. That is not sustainable but in many cases the police become involved only as a service of last resort so making sure people get the support they need and deserve in the community is vital.
“I’m delighted to have been able to fund the Sporting Minds project which will provide more positive life opportunities and boost the skills of vulnerable people in Thanet.”
Cllr Lin Fairbrass, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environmental Services at Thanet District Council, said: “We are delighted to be delivering the Sporting Minds project in Thanet to support those residents that may struggle with mental health related illnesses.
“Working with our partners, we are committed to tackle the stigma around mental health and through this programme – one of the first of its kind for the district – we believe we can really make a positive impact to the lives of those referred in reaping the physical and mental health benefits of taking part in sport.”
Sporting Minds is a referral only project. The first phase is launching on Monday 30 October with 16 places available. Organisations or practitioners who would like to refer an individual to the Sporting Minds project can visit thanet.gov.uk/sport or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a referral form.