Accrington Stanley Community Trust is helping to transform the lives of people through football – and over the next few months we will look at some of the great work they do.
The Trust put on many sessions every week and one of them, United Together, helps give people who have been struggling a chance to get active and come together.
Rick and Brendan have become good friends through the weekly Wednesday session, which people are recommended to from a variety of agencies, funded by Active Lancashire, and both say it has had a positive impact on their lives.
Rick said: “I live for football and this session gives me a chance to get out and meet new friends. It means a lot to me and it has brought a lot of people together.
“I am waiting for a start date for a new job but I want to keep this going as it’s being active and it’s a social life.”
Brendan admits he has a split personality and he says United Together sessions have helped to calm down his anger.
“I get very angry for no reason sometimes. This is a release for me. I do have a competitive nature and I have kicked off on the pitch but it also helps me use up my energy.
“It stops me being sat in the house, it helps me get out for a few hours and it helps my mental health. I also get the chance to see my brother here and that means a lot to me.
“We play games on a Wednesday and we also play tournaments as a team which is something to look forward to. I couldn’t be without these sessions, they give me a purpose and they are good for me.”
Rick said: “Since I have known Brendan through these sessions, he has calmed down a lot. He used to just flip out but he now controls himself a lot better and I think it’s down to these sessions and the relationships we have built up.”
Shane Hudson is the Trust’s Community Intervention Officer. He said: “United Together brings together over 16s from a lot of different backgrounds.
“It maybe from offending, from rehabilitation, people who are out of work or people who feel socially isolated.
“They are recommended to us from a variety of agencies. We call it a brew, chat and a bit of football sessions!
“It’s a way of focusing on something positive, of creating an environment where people get access to help, support and mentorship.
“It helps both mentally and physically and it’s great to see the friendships develop and the changes in people through coming to United Together.
“We run most Wednesdays in the year and we do have people who come and go and that’s a good thing as it means they have got jobs.”