Health behaviour change promotion and initiating walking football league for mh service users – Leics Partnership Trust

The Mett Centre provides short, medium and long term recovery focused interventions and activities for people with complex and serious mental health issues who have difficulty accessing and attending mainstream services without ongoing intensive support


  • From start: No
  • During process: Yes
  • In evaluation: No


  • Peer: No
  • Academic: No
  • PP Collaborative: Yes

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What We Did

The Mett Centre provides short, medium and long term recovery focused interventions and activities for people with complex and serious mental health issues who have difficulty accessing and attending mainstream services without ongoing intensive support.

The Mett Centre provides opportunities for service users to develop and take a lead in their own recovery. This takes place in the form of purposeful activity, education, health promotion & independent living skills. The aim is to also reduce social isolation by providing opportunities for social contact and support.

Making every contact count health behaviour change leading to The Mett centre walking football team. Facilitated by occupational therapy assistants Gemma Kimpton, Su-fay Yung & Dan Rouce.

Our trust promoted training on “Making Every Contact Count” health behaviour change level 1 on the intranet newsletter. As a result of this the OTA’s (Gem Su & Dan) took it upon themselves to implement short presentations every day for five weeks on the benefits of making changes to your lifestyle. Topics focused on smoking, diet, engagement in occupations and fitness and exercise. Sessions incorporated some interaction learning and a chance for service users to voice their ideas opinions and questions.

As a result of the fitness and exercise session. Clients recognised that exercise played a pivotal role in their own well-being and would also contribute to reducing the risk of other physical health complications. Gem Su & Dan also sensitively discussed the difficulties that clients with serious mental illness have who take anti psychotic mediation i.e increased risk of diabetes & cardiovascular disease.

Clients highlighted that they would be willing to explore a gentle exercise regime as a starting point of their fitness journey, as many had never been to a gym, fitness hall or swimming centre as the thought of this was too anxiety provoking for them. This led on to the Gem Su & Dan getting in touch with a local Football Association (Leicestershire & Rutland inclusive football club) who had already established a walking football team. They would provide a coach for 20 weeks and provide training. They would introduce individuals onto other suitable teams to play in the walking football team. The groups were mixed ability and agenda and would aim to cater for all disability and mental health needs.

Gem Su & Dan pitched this opportunity to clients and successfully engaged 9 clients. A suitable time was arranged in the Mett centre programme, support, a football pitch, transportation needs and of course a positive attitude to motivate clients. Positive feedback & engagement was overwhelming. Clients reported that they have never had so much energy and stated “this is fantastic”. One male client who has difficultly displaying enjoyment from any activities or interactions was observed by staff laughing & smiling. On one session he scored nine goals and stated to Mett Centre and his home staff he cannot wait for the next weeks session.

Initially some of the female clients were hesitant to engage in what they perceived as a male orientated sport but after only one session they expressed their enjoyment, surprise and have engaged in every session since. The ultimate

recognition for clients was when the association suggested that clients could have a team practice at the King power stadium on their actual Leicester City football club pitch. Gem Su and Dan also aim to have professional pictures taken of clients on the pitch so that they have a memento of their hard work and can look back on what they have achieved.

This will hopefully motivate them to continue with the walking football and any other exercise.

Wider Active Support

Gem Su and Dan promoted this event and sessions on the Trusts newsletter. They highlighted their contact details encouraging other services and health professions to also start their own teams with clients. This has now resulted in two other major services setting up their own teams again encouraging a league to be formed. They also aim to write an article for the Leicestershire partnerships NHS magazine (people matters).



We have service users and carers who are willing to share their experiences, and utilise questionnaires too.

Looking Back/Challenges Faced

After gaining feedback from Gem Dan & su they stated in reflection the only thing they could have perhaps of done differently would have been to follow up the promotion to other services sooner, thus encouraging greater numbers of clients to be made aware of this health promotion.

The initial difficulty was getting clients to engage in the very first session. This took time and patience with clients explaining how the sessions would be low impact and all the positive benefits they may achieve that may contribute to their well-being and physical state.

The health behaviour change sessions also took time to plan and undertake including contacting other specialist services for any promotions aids, posters and information they may have. Each client also gave consent for staff to contact their General practitioners in order for them to support physical activity or provide advice where necessary. This was because of some clients being on high doses of anti psychotic
medications and/or having other health complications. Liaison with primary care services also promoted effective communication between services about any progress made


Outcome measures & client questionnaires have indicated from clients their overwhelming desire to keep the walking football team going. Every effort will be made in the Mett Centre’s timetable to achieve this, including funding towards the hire of the pitch.


This is currently in the process of being looked into further, due to being a new initiative. Staff are also currently devising a well being plan. Within this plan is a physical health and medication section which will asses and monitor clients physical health. In future Clients baseline physical observations will be monitored more closely, particularly after completing several sessions of walking football.


As already mentioned in the news letter and to provide an article. Yes we would be happy for information to be shared and to host a learning event.

Is there any other information you would like to add?

Gem Su and Dan are highly motivated individuals who are committed to positively impacting on patients experiences. Their sensitive and compassionate approach has I’m sure has contributed to clients engagement into this project.


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