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The Beautiful Game, Beautiful Cause: Kick Start FC vs. Kick Out The Stigma Charity Match

Two local community groups are gearing up for a charitable clash that transcends the boundaries of football. Kick Start FC, a well-established mental health charity, is set to face off against, Kick Out The Stigma, a new mental health group that uses football to raise awareness and help people with mental health issues. The game promises not only sporting excitement but also shines a spotlight on the crucial role football can play in promoting mental well-being.

This Saturday, 10:30am at the Picket Twenty Sports Ground, these two groups will play a game to raise money for Andover Mind.

Kick Start FC: Tackling the Mind for Mental Resilience

Based in Wiltshire, Kick Start FC has been a pillar of support for individuals grappling with mental health challenges. Using the therapeutic power of football, the charity provides a unique form of peer support known as football therapy. The ethos is clear – ‘tackling the mind.’ By offering a safe and non-judgmental space, Kick Start FC empowers individuals to build the tools necessary for mental resilience. The charity’s mission extends beyond the football field, aiming to alleviate the burdens of poor mental health, social isolation, and loneliness.

Kick Out The Stigma: A New Initiative Making Waves

On the other side of the pitch stands Kick Out The Stigma, based in Andover, a dynamic initiative born just a few months ago. Spearheaded by the visionary Michael Ford, this group hosts lively and friendly football matches every Tuesday at Charlton Astro. Proudly sponsored by S:CRAFT, the premium distributor of made-to-measure shutters and blinds, the events have a noble goal – to support mental health causes.

Motivated by a Mental Health course, Michael Ford initiated this project as a proactive response to mental health challenges. Recognizing the therapeutic benefits of exercise, the matches provide a welcoming and flexible environment with no expectations. Enthusiastic participation has become a hallmark of these weekly gatherings, where individuals come together for both physical activity and mutual support.

(Caption: Michael Ford (centre) and the team wearing their sponsored bibs from S:CRAFT during a weekly football match at Charlton Astro.)

A Positive Impact Beyond the Field

Liam, a participant in Kick Out The Stigma, shared his transformative experience, saying, “Joining this group has not only let me rediscover my love for football but has become a supportive community improving mental health through socializing and physical activity.”

Beyond the matches, Michael Ford is channelling his efforts into fundraising for Andover Mind. Teaming up with Crafty Owl, a local business specializing in personalized clothing, Michael ensures that a portion of the proceeds from branded clothing sales goes to support mental health initiatives. Special events, such as the Halloween match with matching fees by Ocado, underscore the initiative’s commitment to raising mental health awareness.

Charity Clash: Kick Start FC vs. Kick Out The Stigma

The climax of this community-driven narrative is set for December 2nd at Picket Twenty Sports Fields, with kick-off at 10:30 am. All are invited to witness the clash between Kick Start FC and Kick Out The Stigma. More than just a football match, this event is an opportunity to rally behind a cause that transcends the boundaries of sport – mental health awareness.

For those unable to attend, donations can be made either at the event or online. Every contribution, no matter the size, adds to the collective effort of fostering mental well-being within the community.

Kick Out The Stigma has already made a positive impact and continues to grow, welcoming individuals aged 16 and above. Connect through Facebook or WhatsApp if you’re interested in joining this uplifting initiative.

This Saturday, set aside the morning for a game that goes beyond goals and tackles, a game where the score is measured in smiles and shared victories against mental health stigma.