Sean Dyche took time out of his busy schedule to pay a visit to Everton in the Community’s purpose-built mental health hub, The People’s Place.
The Everton manager was given a tour of the recently-opened building by EitC CEO Sue Gregory and senior manager Jon Jones and then later joined a group of participants from the charity’s Stand Together programme for a cup of tea and a chat. Conversation topics ranged from his opinions on VAR, the return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the Toffees’ 5-1 victory at Brighton.
Dyche heard about why the programme has been so important to them as individuals and what they enjoy most about the sessions.
The 51-year-old said: “It’s been great to come and see this great space and also meet with some of the people who benefit from the charity’s work. The staff I met told me about how the power of the badge can help to break down the initial barrier that people might feel when asking for help.
“It has a very relaxed feel and although you can access health professionals and specialist advice, it doesn’t have that clinical edge which I think is key. They were a lively group and I felt like I got a bit of a grilling at times, but I really enjoyed sitting down with them and having a good chat about anything and everything.”
Dyche’s visit was part of the Premier League’s ‘Inside Matters’ campaign, which encourages supporters to keep up the conversation on mental health by talking and listening to others.
Funded by the Premier League, Stand Together is for anyone aged 65+ who might be struggling with loneliness or social isolation, and the programme is actively welcoming new participants, with two weekly sessions offering individuals the chance to improve their quality of life by making new friends and having fun.
A range of activities including trips out, interactive activities and games, live entertainment, guest speakers, physical activity sessions and cooking and healthy eating classes are all on offer to members of the group.
“The real purpose of a programme like Stand Together is to encourage people to connect with others,” said Adam Howard, senior programme manager for EitC. “When you retire and get older there’s a chance that you could become more isolated and perhaps suffer with poor mental health, so it is a place to come and meet like-minded people and have some fun.
“We’ve really enjoyed welcoming the manager to our session today to find out a bit more about our work and how we support and engage with typically hard-to-reach people.”
Everton in the Community has been delivering high-quality mental health provision for more than 15 years and The People’s Place is the first hub of its kind attached to a Premier League club.
The purpose-built facility promotes positive mental health and wellbeing and provides a space for people to access a broad range of activities and programmes, connect with other like-minded individuals and also access clinical support with a team of GPs, health trainers and psychotherapists on site.
“This programme has been so important for me,” said Peter Howard, a Stand Together participant. “I found myself stuck in a rut after I retired due to poor health and this has given me a buzz again. I look forward to coming every week and it’s given me a real lift, it’s brilliant and we really are The People’s Club.”