A Huddersfield club are receiving high praise for their work in the community, writes Steven Downes.
And Shelley are making particular strides in disability football.
There has been a big rise in this area in recent years, mainly due to schemes like that of Shelley Community Football Club.
They have got together with Creative Minds, part of South West Yorkshire NHS Foundation Trust, and entered a team in the Good Mood League.
The competition gives those dealing with mental health issues the chance to play at a competitive level.
Gary Millar, Shelley CFC’s welfare and inclusion officer, explained: “We have two activities that come under the Creative Minds project.
“One consists of 17 registered players organised by Mark Wisbey from Creative Minds who partake in the Good Mood League.
“The other is involved with our open training session held on Thursday afternoons (1.00-2.00) where anyone who is interested in joining this type of teams can come and play.
“There are about 15-18 so far and you won’t meet a more passionate set of footballers.
“When the sessions end, they just want to keep going.”
Millar is very pleased at how Creative Minds have created a feelgood factor at the club.
Jason White, Disability Football Development Officer at the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA, told the Examiner: “The Good Mood League and Good Mood brand existed in Kirklees.
“They were like five-a-side festivals, it wasn’t affiliated, and it sat outside of regular football.
“A priority area is to achieve broader outcomes, supporting people who suffer from mental health issues.
“Football is a great engagement tool, it can help to address problems around isolation, physical health and emotional health.
“This is a great way to help people and do it for peanuts compared to what it costs for care.”
The Good Mood League is growing with every passing month.
And while Millar and the team work hard on the pitch, the support of local FA’s is vital.
White continued: “Through my research I found there were four 11-a-side teams who were all trying to access stuff to do with mental health.
“They weren’t in a league but just playing friendlies, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to set something up”.
Shelley’s team won their first fixture 16-2.
Millar added: “To see them bring everything they had learned in training to a match in such little time was amazing.”
The Good Mood League team is just one of a number of Shelley initiatives.
Disability sport in general, and football in particular, is growing.
Millar continued: “For us at Shelley it will be about strengthening the Creative Minds team and the other strands of expansion we want to be involved in.
“We have the facilities to do this so why don’t we make the best use of them?”
For further information, contact Gary Millar at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.shelleyfc.com .