Teams from across Wales and England will gather in Newtown for an inaugural “We Wear The Same Shirt” football tournament early in the New Year, designed to raise awareness about mental health and tackle prejudice.
The tournament is the brainchild of Newtown academy coach Sam Morris and follows on from a previous tournament held in Newport, Gwent earlier this year, with Morris hoping to build on the initiative’s earlier success.
‘We wear the same shirt’ is a pilot football programme run by Time To Change Wales and the Football Association Wales Trust and is designed specifically for people who have had experience of mental health issues, and a public campaign to combat what the campaign describes as an ‘ever-present stigma’.
As part of the programme training sessions are run every Wednesday at Newtown’s Latham Park and a healthy number of people have regularly attended the sessions, which have been running since 2015.
A confirmed 16 teams from Newtown, Welshpool, Wrexham, Newport, Cardiff and Chester have entered the 5-a-side tournament to be held at Latham Park on January 21, starting at 11am.
Teams are set to take part in group stages, before progressing to the quarter finals, semi finals and then the grand final later on in the afternoon.
The Newtown event is being sponsored by local construction firm EvaBuild.
Newtown FC club secretary Owen Durbridge said: ” We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the people who participate in our training sessions at Newtown and the initiative shown by young Sam Morris in organising this event on his own has been outstanding, and he has the backing of the whole Board of Directors.
“With one in four people living with a mental health condition, we want to make sure that Newtown AFC is supporting its fans and community,” he added.
For more information on the tournament or the ‘We Wear The Same Shirt’ programme contact Sam via Newtown AFC on: 01686 626159.