2017 marks 15 years of The Dairy, a brilliant landmark for the business! As part of our celebrations, each team member is dedicating 15 hours to a charity of their choice. Verena recently volunteered at the Greyhound Trust with huge success, so next it was my turn to do my bit and lend a helping hand to a local good cause.
My chosen charity was Notts County Football in the Community (NCFITC) – an award-winning charity helping a wide range of people across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire with a variety of mental and physical health problems as well as offering a second chance to young offenders in the local community. I’ve been fortunate enough to work closely with them over the past 2-3 years. Sadly, few people are aware of the extraordinary work carried out at NCFITC.
On Wednesday 19th April, I spent the day with the team at their magnificent Portland Centre on the fringes of the Meadows. The purpose behind me spending a day with the team was to gain first hand experience of their work and then follow it up with some written case studies of the courses the team organise for the many people who rely on their work week in, week out. Ultimately, these written case studies will be used by NCFITC in order to promote their work to others and hopefully encourage further funding from a variety of sources.
I spent the first part of the morning on the Right Mind course – a wellness class for women where they can get active either in the gym or by playing sport, spend a couple of hours in the company of others, and share their thoughts and feelings around a table with a cup of tea and a biscuit.
The second session of the morning was the men’s ‘On The Ball’ project – a two hour course working with men from a variety of backgrounds, giving them the confidence and life skills they need through a shared passion – football. Every other week, the men also take part in a workshop to discuss their problems with the group. The rest of the session is completely football orientated – from penalty kicks to 5-a-side matches. Problems range from drug and alcohol abuse, to schizophrenia, anxiety, depression and many more mental health issues.
My third and final session was with the men’s dementia group. Sport also plays an integral part in this session, with a warm up, stretches and participation in a range of sports – from tennis or badminton to bowls or cricket.
From spending just one day with NCFITC, I could instantly see the positive effects the courses have on the participants – lifting their mood, building friendships and confidence, breaking down barriers and arming them with the life skills they need to battle the demons they face on a daily basis. The courses can also offer some often much needed respite for carers.
The one thing I would stress about Football in the Community is that it’s not just about football. In fact most of the courses have no relation to football at all. The Notts County badge has the power and the draw required to encourage people to take part and get the help they need, but football is a small aspect of the life-changing work undertaken by NCFITC.
I would like to extend a special thank you to all the coaches at Notts County Football in the Community for welcoming me to the team for a day and integrating me into the work they do. It is a truly life-changing organisation for many across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – and long may it continue! If you would like to find out more, please visit the website – www.nottscountyfitc.org.uk