Sporting Minds Project

Sporting Minds Project

Sporting Minds is a brand new pilot project delivered by Thanet District Councils Sports Development service, aimed at supporting residents aged 16 -30 years of age who are struggling with poor mental health conditions.

The project has been developed following funding through the Kent Police and Crime Commissioners Mental Health and Policing Fund with the support of local and national partners to work with local residents who are suffering from poor mental health, by using the power of sport and physical activity to help transform lives.

Sporting Minds will deliver two pilot cohorts aimed at providing both practical and theoretical learning to help boost candidates confidence, physical and mental well-being and leadership skills to encourage them back into further training, employment or volunteering.

Who is Sporting Minds aimed at?

  • Residents who suffer with mental health conditions.
  • Young people and adults aged between 16-30 years of age.
  • Residents looking for training and on-going support with working within the sport and leisure industry.
  • Residents who may be NEET, (Not in employment, education or training)


When does Sporting Minds start?

We will be delivering two cohorts which will be delivered across 8 weeks each.  For each cohort there will be a maximum of 16 places and applications will be accessed and places offered.

Cohort 1 - Starts Monday 30th October x 8 weeks.

Cohort 2 - Starts Monday 29th January x 8 weeks.

Why get involved in Sporting Minds?

  • FREE Community Sports Leaders Level 2 qualification.
  • 8 x weeks of Practical and theoretical learning and coping strategies to improve health and well-being.
  • Information and support in seeking further employment, training or volunteering.

How can Sport and Physical activity improve your mental well-being?

We all know that being physically active is good for our bodies. But our physical health and mental health are closely linked – so physical activity can be very beneficial for our mental health and well-being too.

Lots of us don't get enough exercise to stay healthy, but physical activity is particularly important if you have a mental health problem. This is because people with mental health problems are more likely to have a poor diet, smoke or drink too much alcohol, or be overweight/obese (this can be a side effect of taking medication).

So if you have a mental health problem, the health benefits of becoming more physically active are even more significant.


Does mental health impact on physical conditions?

Having a mental health problem can put us at even higher risk of developing serious physical health problems than other people. Those of us with a mental health problem are:

  •  twice as likely to die from heart disease
  • four times as likely to die from respiratory disease
  • on average, likely to die between 10 and 17 years earlier than the general population, if we have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (this may be due to a number of factors including suicide, poor diet, exercise and social conditions.
  • People may also be slower at seeking help, while doctors can sometimes fail to spot physical health problems in people with severe mental health problems).


The benefits of physical activity for mental health

• Reduced anxiety and happier moods. When you exercise, your brain chemistry changes through the release of endorphins (sometimes called feel good hormones), which can calm anxiety and lift your mood.

• Reduced feelings of stress. You may experience reductions in feelings of stress and tension as your body is better able to control cortisol levels.

• Clearer thinking. Some people find that exercise helps to break up racing thoughts. As your body tires so does your mind, leaving you calmer and better able to think clearly.

• A greater sense of calm. Simply taking time out to exercise can give you space to think things over and help your mind feel calmer.

• Increased self-esteem. When you start to see your fitness levels increase and your body improve, it can give your self-esteem a big boost. The sense of achievement you get from learning new skills and achieving your goals can also help you feel better about yourself and lift your mood. Improved self-esteem also has a protective effect that increases life satisfaction and can make you more resilient to feeling stressed.

• Reduced risk of depression. If you're more active there's good evidence to suggest that at most ages, for both men and women, there's a trend towards lower rates of depression. In fact one study has found that by increasing your activity levels from doing nothing to exercising at least three times a week, you can reduce your risk of depression by almost 20%.


Refer a client to the Sporting Minds project?

If you are supporting a client or know of an individual who may benefit from this project, please download and complete the a 'Participant referral form' Please note that there will be two cohorts being delivered, the first taking place in October and cohort 2 being delivered in January 2018.

Please return completed form via email to or post FAO Colin Rouse, Sports Development Service, PO BOX 9, Thanet District Council, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent, CT9 1XZ


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