Coaches: Steve Rhead & Jerry Lakin
Champion: Andy Oakes
APRIL 4th 2011 - IT'S A GOAL! GIVEN BOOST BY LOCAL NEWSPAPER!
IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH IS GOAL OF NEW VALE PROJECT
by Richard Ault
Depressed Port Vale fans can take advantage of a new scheme aimed at improving their well being.
With the club in turmoil after losing two managers, falling down the league table and fans and players revolts - the It's a Goal! programme aims to help Vale supporters suffering from depression and anxiety.
The project, run as a franchise from the It's a Goal! Foundation by Combined Healthcare, aims to combat the rising tide of depression and suicide among young men - using football to reach them.
Co-ordinator Andy Oakes aged 53 of Penkhull said: "It's about using football as a metaphor to get people to look at issues around their mental health, which perhaps they wouldn't normally discuss in other forums. It works for people with long standing and quite complex mental health problems, as well as people who are experiencing mental health issues and have been referred by their familikes. It's an eleven week programme and the people taking part are known as the "players". The advisors are called "coaches" and after going through the programme, people can still get help through the "supporters club". Sometimes we will talk about football. One of the things we have done is show footage of Eric Cantona, when he karate kicked a supporter. We ask the players what they think was going through his mind at the time, the sort of pressure he was under."
The scheme was rolled out at Stoke City last year and so far about 35 people have successfully completed the programme.
Mr Oakes added: "Port Vale have been incredibly supportive. They have even offered match tickets to people coming through the programme."
Dr Alan Pringle, of Nottingham University, who supervises the It's a Goal! project, said: "A lot of it's success is down to the environment. A lot of young men say that when they have tried to seek help for mental health problems they end up in a grubby little building and they feel that is all they are worth. Here the sessions take place in a box, looking down over the stadium. Some of the language to do with mental health issues can be confusing. Here we use the language of football. A 17-year old might not understand words used to talk about anger management, but here we will show a clip of Eric Cantona. There's also the stigma if you tell a young man to see a psychiatrist or a mental health specialist. Here, if anyone sees them, they are just going to Port Vale and it's not a problem."
Paul Milligan of Northwood has already been through the programme.
The 35-year old said: "When I first walked in the coach said, "If you've got a problem, we will address it, and if you don't feel like talking, we'll talk about football". There was no pressure. The whole thing was so laid back and relaxed. Some weeks, either yourself or some of the others had had a difficult time and we'd talk about it."
"ONLY THING THAT WORKED FOR ME"
Former engineer Paul Milligan has struggled for years to come to terms with the scars left from growing up in an abusive home.
The 35-year old from Northwood grew up in a household where violence was commonplace.
He spiralled into alcoholism after his mother's death years later.
At his lowest point, he tried to drink himself to death and was hospitalised with alcohol poisoning.
When he recovered he did not drink for 10 years - but then sank into alcoholism once more, quitting his job as an engineer and attempting to kill himself.
The Manchester United fan was referred to It's a Goal! after other mental health and rehabilitation clinics failed to help.
He said: "It is the only thing that has ever worked for me. It has given me the confidence to talk about my past. Nothing is forced on you, you take things as far as you want."
GOING TO WATCH PORT VALE CAN RUIN MY WEEKEND...
Richard Bean, aged 50, who lives in Wigan but is formerly from Leek, said: "The club does a lot to help fans and I think this is a fantastic idea. I don't think football can make you depressed but it ruins my weekend when we lose."
Ronnie Findler, aged 59 of Latham Grove, Fegg Hayes said: "Anything that helps people when they have got problems is a good thing. A lot of people get caught up in the emotions of football. I think the service will be well used."
Article reproduced with the kind permission of The Sentinel newspaper.
MARCH 23rd 2011 - It's a Goal! launches at Vale Park, home of Port Vale FC with presentations from a number of speakers including the Chairman of Port Vale Bill Bratt MBE, IAG Coaches Steve Rhead and Jerry Lakin, local NHS Manager Andy Oakes, Dr Alan Pringle, IAG Founder Malcolm McClean and a particularly inspiring story from Paul, who has just completed the first season at Vale Park. See pictures of the event below...
Port Vale It's a Goal! team at the launch...
Andy Oakes & Bill Bratt MBE
Dr Alan Pringle and Jerry Lakin
Andy Oakes' speech
Port Vale IAG Coach Jerry Lakin and It's a Goal! Founder Malcolm McClean
MARCH 2011 - The end of a successful first season sees the players receive their awards from Port Vale chairman Bill Bratt MBE, accompanied by coaches Steve Rhead and Jerry Lakin.
MARCH 2011 - LAUNCH NEWS: The date for the Port Vale launch is Thursday 23rd March and will take place at the Valiant Suite,Vale Park from 2.00pm onwards.
JANUARY 2011 - Great news for the Potteries as It's a Goal! kicks off at Vale Park. As stated previously, matches take place at the ground on Tuesday afternoons and a launch is being planned for later in the Spring.
MEET THE NEW HEAD COACH FOR IT'S A GOAL! AT PORT VALE...
Meet Steve Rhead (pictured above at the It's a Goal! training day at Old Trafford) who will be heading up IAG operations at Vale Park. The first season will kick off on Tuesday January 11th 2011 and Steve says he is very excited by the venture. He will be assisted by Jerry Lakin who has been helping run It's a Goal! programmes for a number of years. If anyone is interested in joining the programme or alternatively, referring someone else, then contact Steve on the mobile number at the top of the page. An email address will be following shortly.
Discussions have been under way between the It's a Goal! Foundation and representatives from Port Vale Football Club and agreement has been reached in principle to host the programme at Vale Park.
Pictured above (left to right) are Pete Sayers (IAG National development Director), Andy Oakes (Head of Service/Social Care lead N.Staffs NHS Trust), Tim Hamlett (North Staffs NHS/ IAG Coach), Bill Bratt MBE (Chairman, PVFC) and Malcolm McClean (IAG Founder).