UEFA award for project

The Coping Through Football project that helps people with significant mental health problems has been recognised by UEFA as part of its Grassroots Awards.

The project, inspired by the London Playing Fields Foundation (LPFF), uses football as a means of improving physical and mental health, increasing self-esteem and confidence and enhancing social skills and is delivered in four north east London boroughs.

Launched in Waltham Forest in 2007, the project has just received additional funding from the Dr Mortimer & Theresa Sackler Foundation and Wembley National Stadium Trust to expand into the London boroughs of Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham and also target teenagers experiencing the onset of mental illness.

Coping Through Football

Further information on the project is available at www.copingthroughfootball.org

Chief executive of London Playing Fields Foundation Alex Welsh said: “We are delighted with this UEFA award which recognises two things.

“Firstly, the role that community playing fields can play in transforming the lives of even the most disadvantaged of groups. And secondly, the importance of innovative partnership working in delivering sports projects that have huge additional health and social benefits.”

The UEFA Grassroots Award was presented by LPFF Vice President and Chelsea and Arsenal legend John Hollins at the official launch of the project’s extension this week at London Marathon Playing Field in Redbridge.

Among the guests at the event was Dave McDermott, Director of Stakeholder Development at the Football Foundation who were one of the principal initial funders in 2007.

Also present on the day were David James of London FA and Phil Sammons and Brendan Walshe of Essex FA, two county Football Associations that have played a key role in supporting the LPFF’s project work to widen football participation.