Inside Matters

Charlie's story: I don't feel alone when I'm with Aston Villa

9 May 2024
Aston Villa. Charlie, Teamwork

How the Aston Villa Foundation are improving the mental health of people in the West Midlands through the Premier League and PFA Community Fund

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As part of this year's Inside Matters campaign, we are showcasing the many ways in which Premier League clubs are engaging with communities to raise awareness of mental health.

Charlie (Aston Villa) 

The TeamWork programme run by Aston Villa Foundation brings people together to help improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Teamwork has been supported by the Premier League and Professional Footballers' Association's Community Fund, which enables clubs across England and Wales to develop and deliver community programmes that are tailored to needs in their local area.

One of the participants supported by TeamWork is Charlie, who has been attending for the last two years. 

This is his story.

"My dad found TeamWork when he was looking at ways for me to get back into football after I stopped playing due to my mental health.

"The coaches are all really supportive and Luke always goes out of his way to check up on me. They really make me feel like I am part of something.

"Taking part in TeamWork has definitely helped my confidence and has given me a reason to get out of the house every Wednesday. I like how it makes me feel.

"For those couple of hours, I feel like I am not alone, as everyone who is playing is going through the same issues and struggles in life. It has made me feel that I belong. Everyone who goes to TeamWork is in the same boat, we can all relate to one another.

"When we are getting ready for the sessions and after we have finished playing we all come together and check in on each other and chat.

"My confidence has definitely improved. A few months ago I would not have been able to get a train by myself to Aston. Now it is part of my routine.

"I was struggling with leaving the house due to my anxiety but now I am comfortable going out and getting the train.

"That increased confidence has come because of the positive reinforcement that TeamWork has taught me.

Aston Villa. Charlie, Teamwork v2

"Through TeamWork, I have learned that there are people in a similar situation to me. There are always people to talk to if I need them which helps me a lot. I am able to remind myself that there are other people in the same situation as me who get through the day too.

"I have been looking into signing up to a college course that would hopefully enable me to become a football coach.

"I hope the TeamWork sessions keep on going as I feel they are really helping people like me and are creating a safe space to play the game we love."

Charlie's story was captured as part of a Premier League Charitable Fund and Goal Click collaboration to showcase the impact of the Premier League and Professional Footballers' Association Community Fund.

For further mental health support, fans can head to: Get help | Mental Health Foundation

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