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Manchester United Foundation: Ability Counts

We’re very proud to partner with Manchester United Foundation (MUF), a fellow local charity who share similar values to our own. Since November 2021, we have been working with MUF as part of the Ability Counts PAN-disability football programme. This focuses on inclusivity and accessibility in sport by offering the opportunity for individuals aged 5-25 with sensory, physical or neurological impairments to play, volunteer or coach with Manchester United.

Anne Beagan, the Ability Counts Outreach Worker and one of Manchester Mind’s freelance trainers, joins the sessions every Friday evening and offers mental health and wellbeing support to participants, their families/carers, and staff, to accompany the football coaching they receive.

This support takes a range of forms and often involves working directly with players and their families/carers to provide specific mental health support for problems they are experiencing, such as sharing psycho-education resources, suggesting self-help strategies, or signposting to further support. Anne has also delivered a range of workshops to help build knowledge about mental health and to teach practical self-help strategies, therefore helping to build a better understanding of mental health among a wider audience.

“It is truly a privilege to be in a position where I can provide community advocacy, ensuring that individuals in need of support can access the help they require and are empowered to advocate for themselves. This role allows me to make a meaningful difference, and I am grateful for the opportunity.” Anne

The video above, produced by MUF for Children’s Mental Health Week in February, shows how Anne has helped the young participants of the programme understand their emotions and the ways in which what goes on in their minds can relate to and influence the way they play on the pitch.

“Anne instantly became a valued and integral member of the team. Her calm and approachable demeanour has allowed participant to feel at ease when seeking support. The nature of our project means we support participants and their families through challenges and Anne’s expertise have developed the project’s offer beyond the football pitch.” MUF

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