Mental Health project wins your vote

Following Charlton’s anniversary match against Portsmouth, the club and sponsors Regular Cleaning  pledged to make a combined £2,000 donation to a Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) project chosen by a vote among supporters.

Charlton fans voted to support a Next Steps residential trip, with 425 fans taking part in a poll suggested by the Fans’ Forum and facilitated by Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust. Over half voted for Next Steps.

Clients from CACT's Early Intervention in Psychosis programme have welcomed a donation which will help fund a mental health residential trip to Cornwall later this year

CACT delivers the residentials for Early Intervention in Psychosis clients from Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust and Kent & Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT NHS)

Nifemi Ajala, KMPT NHS Assistant Psychologist, said:

“I was lucky enough to be one of the staff members to accompany some of our guys from the Early Intervention team in Cornwall.”

Nifemi said that some of the clients “have never been away from home for more than one night.”

“They have self-confidence issues, anxiety, low moods, and it was a lot of people’s highlight of the summer being able to spend those four days in different scenery, have that confidence boost and do something fun.”

She also said many of the clients “have sustained some of the friendships formed in Cornwall”.

Next Steps 2017 participant Psalm Kakhome agrees. “I had so much fun and made some new friends”, he said. “It was a great trip! Obviously we’re all recovering. Some of us don’t go out and meet new people, but it’s good for our mental health to go out there and experience that. It aids our recovery very well.”

Next Steps trips can play an important part in a client’s recovery, strengthening the work done on a weekly basis and improving self-belief. Activities on previous residentials have included coasteering, stand-up paddle boarding and a visit to the Eden Project.

Last year, 45 clients in total attended over four separate trips. 100% of the clients reported that they felt the trip had helped them reduce the social isolation they had felt due to their psychosis.

Carl Krauhaus, CACT’s Head of Early Help and Prevention, said:

“The Next Steps residential project has been a fantastic development for our mental health work. It enabled us last year to offer an additional and unique opportunity to some of the people that we work with throughout the year. I saw first-hand the difference the trips made to people and witnessed what a boost it was to many of their recovery paths. I would like to thank all of those who voted to help us to deliver the project again this summer and continue our respected and forward-thinking work in mental health, and Regular Cleaning and the club for making the donation.”

Richard Wiseman of Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust said

“We were pleased to be able to play a small part in this by facilitating the voting by fans. We wish everyone well on this year’s trip”

A number of clients from the programme were invited to a pitchside photograph ahead of Charlton’s 13 February game against Bradford City.