Here we feature the work of Manisha Tailor MBE who recently set up the Wingate & Finchley FC Disabled Fans Forum, an initiative that supports local disabled people, with a focus on those with mental health issues.
Manisha is the founder of Swaggarlicious who uses the power of football and education to engage with diverse community groups and organisations, including women and girls, and adults with mental health issues to lead a healthy lifestyle and develop life-long learning skills.
The ‘Wingate & Finchley FC Disabled Fans Forum’ is an initiative that allows football fans from within the local area, who are disabled or have mental health issues, to come together and enjoy the beautiful game in a safe place where they can simply be themselves and support their local football club. It is designed to promote an active, healthy and independent lifestyle for adults with mental health issues.
Our mental health and wellbeing impacts upon our everyday lives. One in four will experience a mental health issue, with 1 in 10 of those being young people. We ourselves are most likely to know someone experiencing a mental health issue, however due to the stigma and discrimination experienced, they are likely to remain silent. Mental health issues can be caused by a variety of factors such as bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, neglect and emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
Research has shown that sport and exercise releases chemicals in your brain that that make you feel good – boosting your self-esteem and confidence. Through the ‘Wingate & Finchley FC Disabled Fans Forum’, adults will develop social skills in a fun environment in which they feel comfortable and one in which they will not be judged.
Integration and acceptance of all is at the heart of their work. Football can play a vital role in empowering those with mental health issues to channel their thoughts and feelings into something positive. Football truly has the power to change lives and provide those with mental health issues a sense of belonging.
Manisha has lent her support to Weeks of Action and spoke about the project saying: “The Wingate and Finchley Disabled Fans Forum supports adults with mental health issues and disabilities and gives them access to enjoy a matchday experience at Wingate and Finchley FC, as well as participate in free weekly football sessions. It is a provision that I set-up in the local area which provides a safe and inclusive environment that really has been a ‘Game Changer’ for the disabled football fans; which is why I am lending my support to Level Playing Fields Weeks of Action”.
The forum aims to provide:
A SAFE ENVIRONMENT
A safe environment that fosters confidence, motivation and the feeling of self-worth
A variety of sessions that are fun, fostering engagement, positive participation, team work and communication
HEALTHY & ACTIVE
Sessions that promote leading a healthy and active lifestyle
Access to Wingate & Finchley FC games where fans can enjoy watching a live fixture and support their local football club.
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