Sport England and Mind have announced a £2m programme using sport to improve the lives of people with mental health problems.
It is hoped the scheme will help 75,000 people through the offer of assistance to join sports clubs, take up a new activities or go to the gym as part of the project.
The goal is to launch the programme across eight areas of England next year, with £1.5m of National Lottery funding from Sport England and £514,000 raised by Mind.
Physical activity could play a “key role” in recovery from mental health issues like anxiety and depression and in staying well in the long term, according to the Mind chief executive Paul Farmer. He also praised the grassroots sports body Sport England and its aid to provide “bespoke sports programmes” that will help thousands of people “access sport as part of their recovery and ongoing health.”
Sport England’s director of community sport Mike Diaper explained: “There is compelling evidence that participation in sport and physical activity has a positive influence on mental well-being and mental illness. This includes enhancing day-to-day moods, reducing the impact of stress and enhancing self-esteem. That’s why Sport England is committing National Lottery funding to this exciting and ground-breaking programme.”
Mind center in Hillingdon is one of the first to receive funding from Sport England to run a sporting events programme over the next three years. They will be offering Yoga, Badminton and Table Tennis activities at £1 a session, taught by qualified coaches as well as staff from Mind.
Minister for sport Helen Grant said: “This programme from Sport England and Mind will help people struggling with mental health problems use sport as a release and help put them on the road to recovery.”
Potential participants can enquire about joining the sports and mental health scheme through their local branch of Mind.