Chester FC's community trust are marking this year's Mental Health Awareness Week with a football session.

The highlight is part of the trust's routine mental health football sessions, backed by the MBNA Community Investment Programme.

The sessions strive to counteract social isolation, promoting an environment where attendees can discuss their issues without fear of judgement, form friendships, engage in physical activity, and access further support if required.

These gatherings take place at King George V Sports Hub each Thursday and at Ellesmere Port Sports Village on Tuesdays.

Men and women, who have endured a mental health concern, are invited with no formal referral necessary.

Regarding this year's Mental Health Awareness Week theme which is Movement: Moving more for our mental health – the Trust aims to underscore the therapeutic advantages these casual training sessions offer to those grappling with mental health issues.

NHS support workers, representatives from other agencies, and mental health first aiders from Chester FC often attend these sessions, armed with information on supplementary support that might benefit the attendees.

Being well-acclaimed that regular exercise positively impacts mental health, such sessions attempt to lessen stress and anxiety and increase self-esteem, thereby mitigating the risk of depression.

The chief executive at Chester FC Community Trust, Jim Green, said: "Our mental health football session are a simple format for offering people additional support with their mental health.

"The relaxed and informal nature of the sessions offer a stress-free environment in which people can come and relax, while doing something that’s good for their bodies, as well as their minds.

“There’s no expectation for attendees to talk about some of the issues they may facing, but we have found that people are more likely to open up in an environment they feel comfortable – and ultimately, safe – in.

“We have between 15 and 20 attendees every week, from a variety of backgrounds and facing a range of issues from homelessness to being out of work as well as those experiencing more serious mental health issues.

“For us, this is a small difference we can make to the lives of local people who are struggling with their mental health and need a safe space to visit – even if it’s just once a month.

"It’s also great to see this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week focus on moving more for mental health, as this is something we’ve seen so many people reap the benefits from over the year.”

Victoria Dowd, MBNA community investment partnership manager, added, "It’s fantastic to be able to support our local club in hosting community outreach sessions that genuinely help people in the Chester area – we’re really proud to be involved."

Details about Chester FC Community Trust's wide array of inclusive sessions can be accessed from: