On the 7th July 2019 we hosted our first ever Armed Forces Mental Health Awareness Festival at Victoria Park, home of United in the Community (UITC) in Herefordshire. Throughout the day we were delighted to see around 200 people attend the festival in what turned out to be an extremely hot day with temperatures hitting 30 degrees. We had the pleasure of The Right Worshipful Mayor of Hereford, Councillor Kath Hey, officially opening the Armed Forces Festival. It was great to see the Mayor and Deputy Mayor Paul Stevens spend a couple of hours supporting the day and getting the opportunity to speak to the several charities who were there on the day.
The Festival started with the first public Herefordshire Women’s Only Walking Football match. Hereford coming out on top against Leominster on this occasion. Following on from this match we had the first ever Herefordshire FA Women’s Select XI fixture, with over 25 local female players from teams playing in the Midwest Midlands League and the Herefordshire Development League, it turned out to be a really enjoyable and competitive match with some great football played. Finally, the day was brought to a thrilling end as Herefordshire FA Veterans team Hay St Marys and Civil Service battled it out in a league fixture, a late goal by ‘Service finally giving them a 2-1 victory against a dogged Hay team.
The Festival took place to create awareness of mental health but also celebrate the Armed Forces, with the money raised be split between our partner charity Herefordshire Mind and Herefordshire Help 4 Heroes. We were delighted to raise a total of £500 which has recently been donated via a £250 cheque to both the chosen charities.
Bernie Bambury the Help 4 Heroes beneficiary said, “Thank you with all my heart for being there for me and others. Please don’t go away. One way or another we’re going to need you for the rest of our lives.”
A big thank you must be mentioned to the sponsors on the day Matthew Andrews from SC Joseph Ltd and Martyn Rees from County Building Supplies as without their support we wouldn’t have been able to donate what we have been able too. Also thank you to Shelagh Callahan for getting Service for Independent Living to sponsor the Festival Programme.
Also thank you to iDoEntertainments, Hereford United Supporters Trust (HUST), Sandys Food Bar, The Cart Shed, St Michaels Hospice, UITC, Herefordshire Samaritans, Hereford Volunteers (Army), The Hereford Times, Sunshine Radio and The HFA Youth Council. All have been phenomenal in supporting the event and emphasising the importance of looking after your mental health and wellbeing across Herefordshire.
Organiser and HFA Football Development Officer Scott Russell commented, “It has been a really positive first step in what we would like to be an annual festival. Now we have the first one completed, We know 100% we can see this grow and continue to create that awareness required. Off the back of the festival we have had two individuals come along looking for help and support, we have been able to point them in the right direction and let them know that there are people/charities in Herefordshire that can help, to me that is exactly why we held this festival. We are already planning on next year as we look to host two events in 2020.”
For further information, please contact HFA at Scott.Russell@herefordshirefa.com or 01432 342179.
For a list of everyone who helped with the festival and for more information on Mental Health please download the below document.
Download Information Sheet