Last year Newport County AFC became only the fourth EFL club – and the first in Wales – to sign the Mental Health Charter for Sports and Recreation. We intended our signing last October to be the catalyst for a city-wide commitment to support the Charter and improvemental health and wellbeing in our communities.
The Charter (which is available in full via the Policies page on the club website) outlines how – through engagement with sport, improving policy, tackling discrimination and creating positive messages – and organisation can make a difference. The commitment is a dynamic one which is unlikely to ever be fully achieved, but by striving to do so it can create an improvement in all areas of Newport life.
Newport County AFC officials have been working with key stakeholders in the city to get an endorsement and commitment to work collaboratively with interested parties across the city and beyond to enhance the mental health and wellbeing.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, which ran from May 18-24, the club’s Chairman Gavin Foxall and director Colin Faulkner held a video meeting with Councillor Kate Thomas (Mental Health Champion for Newport City Council), Senedd Members Jayne Bryant and John Griffiths, and Newport West MP Ruth Jones. Newport East MP Jessica Morden was unable to attend but has confirmed her full backing and support.
As a part of that meeting, all parties signed a pledge to endorse and support Newport County AFC (including the Academy and County in the Community) in delivering our undertaking outlined in the Charter. It will be reviewed every six months to see how we are achieving our commitments and where we need improvement.
Each person signing the pledge has recorded a short statement with their reasons for doing so, you can view the video here.
However, the principles contained in the Charter are not just important to Newport. As a club, we will discuss and promote the Charter within our division and the EFL as a whole. We have asked Newport City Council to promote the Charter among the city’s recreational providers, the Members of the Senedd to discuss it in Cardiff Bay, and our Members of Parliament to discuss it with their colleagues in Westminster.
During the meeting plans were made to work in collaboration across the city with sports organisations, entertainment providers, charitable organisations and public services and to meet quarterly to outline how we can improve and maintain the mental health of the people of Newport.
There is an open invitation to any organisation that is able to play a positive role on the working group. Interested organisations should contact Colin Faulkner on firstname.lastname@example.org
You can view the full charter here.