Football For Better Minds course

Hampshire FA launch Football for Better Minds to improve mental health support

We’re on a mission to use football to build a better future where people experiencing mental health problems feel supported and respected.

Hampshire FA are delighted to launch Football for Better Minds – a season-long project dedicated to improving our grassroots football volunteers’ ability to cope with mental health issues – on and off the pitch. 


Starting in September 2023, Hampshire FA will offer five Mental Health Champion courses to England Football Accredited clubs and leagues in Hampshire (including those currently working towards England Football accreditation).

The project is delivered in collaboration between Hampshire FA and Havant & East Hants Mind and accredited by Mental Health First Aider England.
Representatives of Hampshire FA affiliated grassroots football clubs are invited to attend one of five free course dates across the 2023/24 season, with the aim of gaining a Mental Health Champion qualification from Mental Health First Aider England.

Our objectives

  • To improve our grassroots football representatives’ ability to cope with mental health issues.
  • Recognise and appreciate our grassroots community, by providing free access to accredited training.
  • Help retain our grassroots volunteers via peer-to-peer support and facilitate better mental health practices within the game.
  • Foster more supporting and safer environments for individuals struggling with mental health issues.
  • Increase the overall awareness of mental health support within the county.

Hampshire FA’s Community Engagement Officer, Alienor Chartier says “Mental health is a universal topic that affects all of us either directly or indirectly and, yet it remains difficult to talk about your mental health because of stigma attached to it. Sports and physical activity are often praised for having a positive impact on mental health however, as great as that benefit is, volunteers within our football community rarely get to enjoy it because of the stress that they experience and the huge workload that they are responsible for.

This project was born from a desire to create a space where volunteers can learn more about mental health and gain practical skills about looking after their own wellbeing whilst supporting the players, coaches, parents and fans who are at the core of everything they do. The football community's interest in this initiative has been overwhelming, and I am really excited to see the impact that this project has in the long term”.


Havant & East Hants Mind’s Anna Zakotti and Andy Foster added “As a Workplace Wellbeing & Training Team, our focus is on building confidence and knowledge around mental health; supporting cultural change and fostering a supportive workplace community in our clients.

Our training programmes and support offer for workplaces has continued to evolve. As has our relationship with Hampshire Football Association, incorporating the diverse teams across head office, coaches, referees, officials, players, and volunteers. 

We are really excited to be part of the new funded 'football for better minds' programme, where we will be training coaches, volunteers and players to become Mental Health First Aid Champions, equipping them with the essential skills and knowledge to promote mental health awareness and provide initial support to individuals across the clubs.".


How to register

Five dates for courses across the 2023/24 season have been confirmed below. The training is free to attend for accredited clubs and leagues within Hampshire. 

15th/16th November 2023 – 9:30am – 12:30pm
Online - Zoom

19th/22nd January 2024 – 9:30am – 12:30pm
Online – Zoom

15th February – 9:30am – 4:30pm
Winklebury Football Complex

15th March – 9:30am – 4:30pm
Front Lawn Community Hub

30th April / 7th May – 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Online – Zoom




Non-accredited clubs can also attend, at a discounted price of £125 per representative. Usual cost of training is £200 per representative. The Mental Health Champion course is accredited by Mental Health First Aider England and delivered by Havant & East Hants Mind. Attendees must be over the age of 18.