‘Don’t tackle it alone’ is the message from Thameslink and Stevenage FC, who have teamed up to launch a new positive mental health initiative.
The new campaign launches as mental health issues continue to rise following the pandemic. Thameslink and Stevenage FC want to encourage young people to join Stevenage FC Foundation’s Premier League Kicks programme — which will help them make friends and open up about problems.
With research suggesting that the younger generation has struggled the most with their mental health during the pandemic, Thameslink is focusing on this age group to support vulnerable people in its communities, building on its year-round focus on mental wellbeing, in partnership with the football club.
To launch the partnership, players from the Academy and First Teams donned specially designed kits with the message: ‘Don’t Tackle It Alone. We Are All In This Together, Always.’
Strengthening a long-standing partnership with Stevenage FC, Thameslink is now working with Stevenage FC Foundation to encourage young people to get involved in sport, meet new friends and build confidence through the Stevenage FC Foundation Premier League Kicks programme.
The Kicks programme – funded by Premier League Kicks and Sport England – uses the power of football to offer young people a support network and somewhere constructive to let off steam. So far, the scheme has managed to contribute towards a 50% reduction in anti-social behaviour in local communities, giving people a safe space to meet.
Stevenage FC Foundation uses the scheme to reach those who need support the most, encouraging young people aged 8-19 to get active at sessions in 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 meets 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 tightknit community, and we can only do this by working alongside supportive partners, like Thameslink, to spread the message.”
The campaign has also been backed by Stevenage Young People’s Healthy Hub, a central point of access for young people aged 11-17 who need support with their mental or emotional, physical or lifestyle related health needs. The Young People’s Healthy Hub currently operates Tuesday – Thursday from 3.30pm-6.30pm with a delivery of programmes and outreach events being delivered at flexible times outside of open hours making it accessible for young people, pupils and their parents after the school day and during 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.”