Football brings people together for Community Cup

November 22, 2017

Sport can bring communities together, and football in particular can have change the way that people think, by bringing down barriers and encouraging people to mix and work together.

As we celebrate Occupational Therapy Week 2017, it’s a great time to look back at the recent St Andrew’s Community Cup – a football tournament which allowed service users from across the county to come together and work alongside each other.

St Andrew’s collaborated with Northampton Town Football Club to host its second Community Cup. Service users from Berrywood Hospital, St Matthews Healthcare, as well as three other community projects, were welcomed to St Andrew’s sports field, with 90 people in attendance.

The football tournament was staged with the objective of giving the participants a meaningful, confidence-building and fun occupational experience, as well as promoting social inclusion.

And that’s exactly what was achieved, as Craig Newman – Senior Occupational Therapist at St Andrew’s Healthcare – explained.

He said: “The success of the tournament confirmed how football, and sport in general, helps create social opportunities, foster social inclusion and develop skills relating to relationships and social acceptance, whilst also combating obesity.

“Football is non-judgemental, allowing individuals to share a common goal and interest, experiencing a sense of meaning, purpose and achievement. It is a non-stigmatising and inclusive activity which provides our patients with a fantastic connection with service users from the local community.

“It’s not only the patients participating in the tournament who were included, either. We have service users who regularly attend our heavy industry workshop, where our cup and keyrings for all attendees were designed and created.

“The organisation and execution of the event demonstrates that we are driving forward new initiatives and leading the way in engaging with other services in the community.”