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Young people helping to tackle poor mental health through Premier League Inspires Challenge

25 April 2024

Participants from Club Doncaster Foundation have joined forces with more than 200 young people from across England and Wales to create a mentally healthy environment at their football clubs and in their communities, as part of this year’s Premier League Inspires Challenge.

The Challenge is one element of the Premier League Inspires programme, which clubs run on a weekly basis to support 11–18-year-olds who may be at risk of not reaching their potential as they move through the education system and early adulthood.

The Premier League Inspires Challenge empowers participants to take on a social action project and make a difference to the world around them.

This season, young people were tasked with raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing in their communities. The Foundation’s representatives developed a project to run a bake sale at a series of events including Doncaster Rovers Belles match v Hull City Ladies (3rd April), The Foundation’s adult Walk & Talk session, Doncaster Rovers’ match v Walsall (9th April) and in their school too.

The purpose of their project was to create spaces to engage the public in conversations about the negative impact of bullying on mental health, as well as positive coping mechanisms that can be used to manage mental health challenges.

All baked goods were prepared by participants from scratch, at the Eco-Power Stadium. In total, the bake sales raised £115.80, with all proceeds being donated to the charity, Act Against Bullying.

Ed O’Mahony, who heads up the PL Inspires programme said: “This year we delivered the Premier League Inspires Challenge in four schools with 44 students taking part in sessions.

“Students were split into ten teams with each working together to design their own social action project to create a more mentally healthy environment at Doncaster Rovers.

“Teams came together at the Eco-Power Stadium at the end of February to present their project ideas in front of a panel of judges which included first-team players from Doncaster Rovers and Doncaster Rovers Belles.

“Against strong competition, one of the two teams from Astrea Academy Woodfields came out on top before going on to put their project idea into action over the Easter holidays.

“The effort and commitment shown by the four participants from our winning team has been outstanding throughout the planning and delivery phase of the Challenge. They have made a real positive difference in promoting awareness for mental health in their community and should be proud of everything they have achieved as a team.”

Having come up with their mental health social action ideas, The Foundation’s participants joined hundreds of young people at the Premier League Inspires Challenge celebration event at Wembley Stadium [on 25 April], where they shared details of their activity with teams of their peers representing 45 clubs from across the Premier League and the English Football League.

This Challenge builds upon the Premier League’s ongoing Inside Matters mental health campaign and the League’s commitment as a signatory of the Mentally Healthy Football Declaration in 2020, which brought together all UK football organisations to help create a mentally healthy environment across the game.

Premier League Charitable Fund Chief Executive, Ruth Shaw OBE, said: “The Premier League and Premier League Charitable Fund are committed to working with professional football clubs, fans, players, communities, and partners to remind everyone that it is okay not to be okay and that it is vitally important that we keep up the conversation on mental health.

“Through the Premier League Inspires Challenge young people from across England and Wales have developed some brilliant ideas to create positive, mentally healthy environments at their football clubs and in school, at home and in their communities.”

Launched in 2019, Premier League Inspires creates life-changing opportunities for young people who have been identified by their schools as needing extra support to engage with activities, helping them to develop the personal skills and positive attitudes needed to succeed in life.

Using the power of football, the programme helps to prepare young people for further education and employment through a series of face-to-face mentoring sessions, workshops and social-action projects.

This season, 45 professional football club community organisations across the Premier League and English Football League are delivering Premier League Inspires sessions at their stadiums, in local schools and at alternative educational settings, with partnership support from the Professional Footballers’ Association.

More than 29,000 young people from across England and Wales have received more than 125,000 hours of targeted support through the programme to date.

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For more information on the PL Inspires programme delivered at The Foundation, please contact

Young people helping to tackle poor mental health through Premier League Inspires Challenge