Blackburn Rovers Community Trust has held several events as part of the 'Time to Change' project which offers young people aged 16-19 years the opportunity to take part in enjoyable group activity to promote good emotional health and wellbeing. Since the project began 18 months ago, the Trust has delivered weekly sessions, special events and mini-tournaments, affording new sporting experiences as well as the chance to develop new friendship circles and social skills. .
Recently a group of students from Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA) took part in a special 'Soccer Striker' event designed to test various football skills in a fun environment. Participants had a series of 'stations' to complete, with a score given for each one. Jaari Gorak, who was the overall winner with 66 points, certainly felt the pressure from his fellow competitors, including Josh McHugh, Brandon Ifould, Mccauley Barnes, in taking the title.
Commenting both on the weekly 'Time to Change' sessions held at DACA and the Soccer Striker event teacher Nathan Atherton said, "I would like to say a big thanks to the team at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust for identifying the students that are at risk from not being able to manage their emotions effectively. I believe that the time spent playing football with the coaches and the motivation offered has been excellent. Students love attending the sessions".
The first 'Time to Change' tournament took place in January when DACA and Lammack Juniors FC competed in a four-team tournament at Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre. The tournament was played to a high standard and in good spirit, with each player also attending a workshop designed to raise their awareness of the importance of good mental health. In a closely-fought competition DACA eventually triumphed.
In February, players from the 'Time to Change' project at St Bede's RC High School also took part in a five-team tournament. As with the first tournament, they each also attended a workshop promoting good mental health. Although they did not win on this occasion, all team members greatly enjoyed the experience and the chance to show their football skills.
Sam Dixon, the Trust's 'Time to Change' co-ordinator said, "The events have focused on raising awareness of mental health through the power of football and have all proved to be very successful in doing so in a fun, enjoyable environment. I would like to thank all the teams that participated in the tournaments as well as staff at DACA who, in recognising the value of our work in this particular field, have embraced the 'Time to Change' sessions as part of the curriculum for the identified group of students".
For more information on the Time to Change project, please contact Sam Dixon on 01254 296256 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org