Football. One of the most popular sports in the world, hitting headlines and creating international celebrities the world over. But football isn’t just about getting the ball in a goal – whether supporting or playing there’s loads of benefits to the beautiful game. Something Match Of The Dads knows well after raising over £2000 for CALM through their five-a-side league. We chatted to them to find out more.
Match Of The Dads is a football league in Norwich for dads in the area. The league was set up by Paul Godfrey to give fathers a place to let off steam, get fit, and make friends. Since 2017 the league has gone from strength to strength, and now has 84 players across 12 teams, giving our pa’s a supportive group of mates to guide each other through the journey of fatherhood.
Paul explains: “The dads involved with Match of the Dads are a support network for everyone involved. Being a dad is full of challenges – personal, financial, physical and mental. We have a number of chat groups on Facebook and people know that there will always be someone there to lean on when it’s needed.”
Paul has struggled with his own mental wellbeing in the past, so creating the league was personal for him:
“My drive behind what we do is to make sure that the dads in our group know that no matter what they might be going through, they’re not on their own.”
Soon after they started out, Match Of The Dads began raising money for CALM after deciding they wanted to do something more tangible with the league. Players pay a weekly donation for matches, and after they’ve paid insurance and pitch fees – the rest of the money goes to CALM’s life-saving services:
“We were meant to have a 24-hour five-a-side match in aid of CALM, but the pandemic put this on hold. The aim is to reschedule and we hope to raise at least £1000 more to donate.”
Just like with the CALM Football Collective, Paul understands that the game is a great way to be there for your mates and tackle difficult issues like mental health and suicide.
“Unfortunately mental health in men is still very much a taboo subject. By raising awareness of the mental health struggles men can and do face, it can only be a benefit.
“The group may not have all the answers, but we can be a sounding board for whatever is going on.”
Going forward, Paul hopes that Match Of The Dads spreads across the country: “Getting more and more dads involved with a common cause would be fantastic. The money raised, and the benefits of physical activity on mental health is nothing but a good thing.”
Match Of The Dads work with their community and CALM earned them the Grassroots project of the year in 2019 from the Norfolk FA. They also used their YouTube page to speak with their players over Mental Health Awareness Week:
This inspiring bunch highlights shows just how easy it is to do something you love for CALM.
If you’d like to set up your own five-a-side Match Of The Dads League, head HERE.
Wanna do something you love for CALM? Get involved HERE.
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