Mental Health and Wellbeing Award, sponsored by Sport and Recreation Alliance

Welcome to the Community Sport and Recreation Awards 2024: Mental Health and Wellbeing Award, sponsored by Sport and Recreation Alliance

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Award celebrates clubs/programmes which use the power of sport and recreation to promote and enhance positive wellbeing, and are ambassadors for promoting good health and wellbeing policies. It’s well known that participating in sport, recreation and physical activity improves your mental health and wellbeing, and we think it’s important to recognise those initiatives that directly focus on this.

Find out more about each of this year’s finalists below:

Brighton Yoga Foundation

Brighton Yoga Foundation was set up in 2014 to offer the therapeutic benefits of yoga to those who may not otherwise be able to access it, because of real or perceived health, cultural or economic barriers.

Through a combination of direct outreach and community partnerships, the Foundation serves mental health patients, domestic abuse survivors, those living with acute trauma, people with reduced mobility and NHS referrals. This year alone, they have held 239 classes and helped 1898 participants, with one of the Foundation’s main offerings being a eight-week specialist trauma-informed women’s class, with most people on the course presenting with mental health challenges.

Since 2015, Brighton Yoga Foundation has also run an annual yoga festival, which is the largest free-entry yoga festival in the UK.

Mental Health for Youth Athletes Documentary - Andrea Brown and Jack Brown

The Somerset ASA swimming family has seen an increase in the number of mental health-related challenges in youth sport in recent years, and produced a documentary to highlight these issues.

From small beginnings, the project grew into a YouTube documentary that has over 10,000 subscribers and has been viewed over 17,000 times. Accompanying the documentary was a free ebook and the opportunity to take part in free mental health first aid courses. Aiming to raise awareness of mental health in youth sports, the documentary also attempted to do something positive to enable people to reach their full potential.

Feedback on the documentary has demonstrated how widespread an issue mental health in youth sport is, and how powerful it is to hear the stories of young people who are facing challenges.

Power of Polo

The Power of Polo mission is to use polo as a sport for change to positively impact the lives of anyone facing social, economic or health challenges by developing impactful programmes that change perspectives of both self and society.

Since its inception in 2015 the programme has reached 123 participants, ranging from ages 12 to 67. The importance of the relationship with horses is one of the key factors in using polo as an intervention, as well as the riding and team skills that the sport requires. Equine therapy is now a recognised form of treatment globally, but access is limited to many parts of society, despite recent growth, which is another area that Power of Polo is looking to address.

The initiative has helped to create a supportive and safe environment where participants can take time to reflect on their mental health and connect with the horses.

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