Whether or not you like it, football, has had a profound impact on our lives beyond the excitement it brings to stadiums and living rooms. Beyond the goals and victories, football plays a significant role in promoting mental health and well-being. In this short article, we will explore how this sport, loved by millions worldwide, positively influences mental health and how can get involved in your own football journey.

By Holly Cade

Hi there everyone – most of you will know me as I have been around for the last 10 years – coming in to services to ‘involve’ you all in different ways, facilitating involvement events and asking you all to share your experiences and expertise, to send in content, prepare presentations, and give up your valuable time and insights into supporting us with a variety of different projects and working groups!

I am writing this Blog to let you all know that I am leaving in January to go on a 2 year secondment as a Senior Partnerships and Strategy Manager with Humber NHS Foundation Trust. After 10 years which included the COVID19 pandemic and 2 maternity leaves I feel like it is time for a change and a fresh challenge, although I will miss this role and working with you all very much. I would love to tell you all face to face but unfortunately that won’t be possible so at least I can tell you in my own words in this format!

In fact I have been around for longer than 10 years – I used to attend the Involvement Strategy Group at Sandal when I was Involvement Lead in a women’s service called Garrow House in York which is sadly now closed. I will always remember my first meeting facilitated by Jo and another woman called Rosie, and how both myself and the women I supported to attend found it really inspiring as well as fun, I always looked forward to those events. I was very happy a few years later to be able to facilitate the events myself!

I thought I would use a bit of space here to reflect on my time in this role over the last 10 years. I would say that my favourite part of my role has to be the Network meetings at Sandal! I have absolutely loved everyone coming together and celebrating achievements, hearing from you all in the Round Robins, watching you all present in front of big groups of service users and staff and commissioners and shouting about all the great things you are doing in your services. It has equally been great hearing about all the things that need improving and working on these together and seeing real tangible change happening as a result of you all sharing your ideas and experiences. I am so pleased that we managed to all meet again at a Network meeting face to face this year, after a long period of virtual events – even if it was the hottest event in my 10 year history!

It has been great starting to see the team grow – both in size welcoming Charlotte in to the team a number of years ago now, but also starting to work with more stakeholders such as the Provider Collaboratives. There have been a lot of changes over the years but that is what has kept me in the role for so long, never any time to get bored as it is on to the next project, or working with different people, or developing something new!

Another highlight would be the Conferences and Big Events! These have always been an opportunity to come together and celebrate all your hard work throughout the year and have some fun together – we have done everything from Magic, circus skills, mosaic making, Ceilidh dancing, Welly wanging, competitions, fabulous music, animal encounters and more – and the effort that has gone in to making these a reality from yourselves has been phenomenal!

We have of course grown a lot as a team this year – going from 4 of us to 9, almost overnight!

I also loved the Roadshow this year and coming in to your services face to face again – always a highlight!

I could keep going all day, but realise you all have busy lives and only so much time to stop and have a read and a cuppa – but finally just wanted to say it has been a pleasure working with you all these years, and hope to see many of you again – and to wish you all the best!

I have loved joining you all on this journey from Functional to Fabulous – and hope you all continue to ‘Get Involved’!

And don’t forget:

Thanks for reading! Holly