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Mind and the English Football League (EFL) triumphed last week at the annual Football Business Awards, winning first prize for its On Your Side partnership.
Recognising the impact that the charity partnership has had in its first season, Mind and the EFL received the Gold Award for Sponsorship/Partnership of the Year.
On a shortlist that included Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City, Leeds United and FC Barcelona, Mind and the EFL overcame the stiff competition to claim victory at a ceremony in London last week.
Since July 2018, we have worked in partnership with the EFL to help improve the nation’s mental health and wellbeing through the power of football.
To launch the partnership, the EFL and Mind created the ‘On Your Side’ joint identity and for the first time ever in English football, incorporated Mind’s unique squiggle logo into the name on the back of every player’s shirt in the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two.
Through this visibility, a number of fans from across the 71 EFL clubs have contacted their local minds to open up about their mental health. Awareness of the partnership also continues to grow, with over 147 million people reached through communication and promotions to date.
Across the partnership, Mind has worked closely with the EFL and its Clubs to launch activations and campaigns for World Mental Health Day, Mental Health Awareness Week and other key mental health awareness dates in the calendar. Most recently, the highly successful 'Goals Worth Talking About' campaign used street art to recreate iconic EFL goals around the country and raise awareness of mental health.
Mind and the EFL have also held focus groups with Clubs to help develop a programme of bespoke On Your Side training and support. This mental health programme is being provided to all EFL Clubs and offers awareness training for all staff, a Sport England accredited e-learning course for all 2,500 community coaching staff and consultancy from Mind. The support also involves connecting Clubs with their local Minds to form the legacy to ensure mental health is embedded at Clubs beyond the duration of the partnership.
Significantly, over £300,000 of the money raised through the On Your Side partnership has been used to fund eight new Get Set to Go hubs at EFL Clubs, supporting 2,400 people to improve their mental health through physical activity during the 2019/20 season.
In 2020, future plans include introducing a grant seed fund for EFL Clubs and CCOs to access with local Minds to deliver projects, while a Mental Health Champions scheme will be developed for Clubs to access and implement. Champions will receive training, resources and support to advise and signpost colleagues who might be experiencing mental health problems.