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Praise for mental health scheme

Particpants delighted with We Wear The Same Shirt scheme

Survey results have revealed the positive impact a mental health football project at Latham Park has had on participants.

We Wear the Same Shirt – a collaboration between the FAW Trust and Time to Change Wales – is designed specifically for people with experience of mental health.

Since 2015, regular sessions have been delivered in Merthyr, Newport, Newtown and Wrexham, attracting more than 175 participants.


Last June, the first ever We Wear the Same Shirt national tournament was staged, featuring 57 competitors.

Of those competing, 91 per cent said they were more confident after getting involved with We Wear the Same Shirt.

95 per cent felt their mental health improved and 100 per cent felt physically better.

One participant who took part at the Latham Park sessions said it changed his life.

He said: "Basically, coming to this football saved my life.

"I was always attempting suicide and self-harm. It helped a lot and given me a lot of friends around here.

"I’ve got ADHD so the medication helps but the football helps me let off steam that’s building up inside.”

Club secretary Owen Durbridge said the project has been well received and hopes that the club can carry it on.


He said: "The We Wear the Same Shirt project has been a revelation to me personally and to the coaches that have been involved.

"We started the campaign using trained students from our linked college in Newtown and they derived enormous benefit from seeing people who had suffered mental health problems enjoying themselves in a safe and friendly environment.

"The participants have grown over the two years into people who appear far less shy to me and who are desperate to play competitive games.

"When we changed the training times to after work hours, that made a big difference, opening the group up to more people.

"One of the players opted to volunteer in our refreshment hut on match days and is still there now, always keen to cook something more challenging and demand more responsibility.

"Another, who is still with us, chose to become a qualified FAW registered coach and assists with our Under 14s Academy programme.

"The games we have had have been few in number – just two matches and the tournament in Newport, but they have loved every minute and they yearn for what we all want as footballers, competitive football that has some meaning to it and we are trying our best to give it to them.

"A couple have signed on for other teams, and one has become a qualified referee, officiating in local games.

"From my point of view – a resounding success and one we shall keep going for as long as possible."