Preston North End marked a new partnership by officially opening a new outdoor pitch at Guild Lodge recently, coinciding with this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
Guild Lodge is a medium secure mental health care hospital for men and women from the Lancashire and South Cumbria areas of north west England.
The Preston North End Community and Education Trust has been working in partnership with Guild Lodge since March where North End’s community coaches assist service users to deliver once a week football training sessions as part of Guild Lodge’s occupational therapy timetable.
The sessions are hosted at its new outdoor facility which was officially opened by North End’s outgoing defender, Tommy Spurr who has been conducting some volunteer work with the Trust whilst undergoing treatment for a hip injury.
As well as football sessions, PNECET also aim to increase participation levels for sedentary service users by running multi skills sessions which slowly introduces physical activity to their daily life.
Service users also have the opportunity to gain recognised qualifications through PNECET with these qualifications enabling service users to progress on to voluntary or paid work in the future.
Jennifer Gardner, Senior Occupational Therapist at the Guild Lodge said: “I am thrilled that our service users at the Guild will have access to these opportunities and all the health and wellbeing benefits this brings, plus an increase in their self-esteem and sense of achievement. This will help them on their recovery journey.”
The hospital also currently has a staff and service user team that play football in a community inclusion league run by Lancashire FA as representatives of Preston North End.
Mark Swan, Service Manager said: “Sport can be the catalyst that changes people’s lives as it can help them to develop other skills such as leadership, teamwork, discipline and motivation. Being part of something bigger and playing in the community inclusion league under the PNE badge will being a sense of belonging.”