Last week, Chelsea FC Foundation and its range of programmes focused on activities surrounding mental health, with this year’s theme targeting loneliness.

The Foundation partnered up with Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow (HFEH) MIND to talk to partner schools throughout the week, with talks taking place at Stamford Bridge.

The two-hour workshop delivered by staff from HFEH MIND explored the symptoms of loneliness, how loneliness impacts mental health, how team sports can combat loneliness and improve mental health and strategies to support mental health and combat loneliness.

The students were also treated to an appearance by ex-Chelsea Women player Karen Carney. She hosted a Q&A session sharing tips on how she copes with high pressure moments and how she juggled education with football training each week, as well as bringing in the Women’s FA Cup Trophy which Chelsea Women subsequently won for the second consecutive year on Sunday.

The health and wellbeing team also worked with HFEH MIND to deliver a physical activity session to participants aged 16-25 on the You Are Not Alone (YANA) project. The session included an introduction to circuit-based exercise, while using a football to keep it engaging. After the session, MIND facilitated a social game for both participants and staff to interact with.

Across the Foundation the departments raised awareness on mental health, with pupils on the Premier League Inspires programme taking part in wellbeing check-ins and learning about the impact of positive mental health and wellbeing, while our pan-disability team met up to finalise the details for their trip to Germany this week, which will provide them with opportunities to learn key life skills.

Participants on the Activate Seniors project took part in a brilliant walking football session at Regents Park in the sunshine, followed by a catch-up and a coffee. The socialisation afterwards was key in encouraging conversations around mental health and wellbeing. Their weekly sessions give all the participants the opportunity to get together and provide their own support network for each other.

Oli, who studies the Chelsea FC Foundation Coaching & Development Degree at St. Mary's University and has a work placement with the Foundation, said: ‘To be in such friendly environments, experiencing different things and always learning new skills, can only make me feel excited and eager for what both the near and distant future may hold. It is always the highlight of my week.’