Sky Blues in the Community (SBitC) have secured funding from Warwickshire County Council’s Covid-19 Recovery Fund to deliver its mental health programme, WOMENtalk.
This is the sister project of MENtalk, the charity’s successful men’s mental health project. SBitC expect WOMENtalk to be extremely attractive to women suffering with mental health problems, especially following the challenges presented by COVID-19 over the last year and a half.
WOMENtalk was developed by SBitC and co-produced with beneficiaries with the aim of supporting women in Warwickshire with their emotional health and well-being. The project will bring women together from all backgrounds and with a range of mental health problems using group physical and social activities combined with positive mental health promotion in a fun, welcoming, non-clinical environment. The project has been designed in consultation with local women and targets all women, not simply those with an interest in football or sport.
WOMENtalk will provide fun activities and social opportunities in community venues in Warwick starting on 6th October and Nuneaton starting on 8th October. Each session will be led by SBitC’s Mental Health Officer with support from SBitC’s professional sports coaches. Course content will vary based on participants’ needs but ice-breaking activities and get to know you activities will form part of all courses.
The wide menu of activities that participants can benefit from include warm-ups, stretching, physical activities, group exercises, team games, sports, yoga, Pilates, Zumba and creative activities. WOMENtalk will be co-produced by participants ensuring they choose the weekly activities they take part in.
Beneficiaries will decide which workshop topics they would like to discuss. These could cover a range of subjects related to mental health, including goal setting, diet and healthy eating, sleep hygiene, mindfulness, stress management, depression, anxiety, self-compassion, kindness, resilience, positive behaviour, making friends, maintaining positive relationships, teamwork, togetherness, communication, how to voice our opinions positively, loneliness, social isolation, self-confidence and self-esteem.
For some people, physical activity can be as powerful as medicine or therapy. The Mental Health Foundation have said that for people with depression “comparative studies have shown that exercise can be as effective as medication or psychotherapy”. Exercise releases natural chemicals like adrenaline and serotonin. It helps to release muscle tension, raises the body temperature and causes tiredness. These all help relieve stress and provide relaxation, which is of particular benefit for people with mental health problems.
In the UK, professional football clubs have received an increasing amount of attention with regards to their potential ability to contribute to the public health agenda. SBitC use its credibility and connection to Coventry City FC to attract specific target groups. WOMENtalk will use SBitC’s ability to engage women from across the social spectrum enabling them to reach their potential by intensive, supportive, carefully planned work.
SBitC already play a significant role in supporting the community’s mental health and are uniquely placed as an organisation in local people’s hearts and minds to be able to appeal to them by focussing specifically on their interests. With a track record of being able to engage and attract women’s involvement over the long-term, SBitC is able to have a significant impact on their health.
SBitC’s Head of Community, Dave Busst said: “SBitC has a commitment to making a difference within our local community. We currently run a wide range of projects based around our four themes - inclusion, health, sport and education. We are delighted to announce our new project WOMENtalk and are keen to give women this fantastic opportunity to learn valuable life-skills, such as stress management and goal setting, whilst hopefully making a significant impact on their mental health and lifestyle.”