Football Unites To Raise Mental Health Awareness
Pictured above (from left to right): Marko Djukic (Silverdale Athletic FC), Alicia Rutter, Steve Rutter, Laura Colclough (North Staffs Mind), Gareth Thomas (Staffordshire FA), Jane Considine (North Staffs Mind)
The Kieran Rutter Legacy Fund has donated £3,000 to local charity North Staffs Mind in recognition for the support they've provided to Silverdale Athletic FC
After a recent meeting between senior grassroots football clubs in Staffordshire, where Staffordshire FA presented on the work they are doing to raise awareness of mental health, the Kieran Rutter Legacy Fund made a generous donation of £3,000 to local charity North Staffs Mind in recognition for the support they’ve been providing to Silverdale Athletic FC, who tragically lost a player through suicide last year.
The Kieran Rutter Legacy Fund was founded by Steve and Alicia Rutter, after they lost their son Kieran in a car accident at the age of just 20 in 2015. The charity supports various good causes across North Staffordshire and has so far raised more than £40,000 since the fund was created.
This announcement follows on from recent work by Staffordshire FA, which is aiming to ensure that everyone involved in grassroots football in Staffordshire is aware of this important subject and the support networks that are available, both locally and nationally.
Much of this work stemmed from the loss of a young player at Silverdale Athletic FC, who tragically committed suicide in 2018. Due to the huge impact this had on Silverdale and the wider grassroots community, the club has been working closely with North Staffs Mind, who have been supporting those impacted by the tragedy.
In recognition for the support provided, and to continue raising awareness, Steve Rutter, Chairman of Leek CSOB Football Club and joint founder of the Kieran Rutter Legacy Fund, announced a £3,000 donation to North Staffs Mind.
When making the donation to North Staffs Mind, Steve and Alicia Rutter invited officials from Silverdale Athletic to be involved in the presentation to issue a strong message that the entire grassroots community are uniting to support each other and raise awareness.
Steve Rutter, joint founder of the Kieran Rutter Legacy Fund, said: “Staffordshire FA are trying to raise awareness about mental health, with figures showing that one in four people suffer. We contacted Gareth who arranged the presentation of the cheque to North Staffs Mind and also invited Marko Djukic from Silverdale Athletic FC, as they have worked closely with North Staffs Mind after one of their young players tragically committed suicide just over 12 months ago, which resulted in many members of their club needing help. This is where football comes together so well.”
Karen Wilson, Chief Executive of North Staffs Mind, added: “We are extremely grateful for this generous donation, which will have a significant impact on our work. At North Staffs Mind we have been working with the local football community – from grassroots to our professional clubs – to promote awareness and understanding of mental health amongst football fans. We’re focused on changing the conversation about mental health in sport with the aim of helping more people living with mental health problems to access the support they need”.
Paul Davies, Committee Member at Silverdale Athletic, said: “It was a big shock; it can happen to anyone. We have been trying to raise awareness and a few of our lads spoke to North Staffs Mind. We have put notices up at the clubhouse and around the changing room doors, pushing the ‘It’s Time to Talk’ message. Staffs FA have been brilliant, the more that we can all do to raise awareness the better. I think there’s still a stigma attached to mental health, but with the message coming from football, young lads might be more likely to pick up the telephone and try to get help.”
Gareth Thomas, Communications & Relationships Officer at Staffordshire FA, added: “National statistics inform us that one in four people experience a mental health problem, and with over 50,000 people involved in grassroots football in Staffordshire, it’s important that we do all we can to raise awareness of this important subject and ensure that those involved in the grassroots game are aware of the support networks available.
“In addition to the work we have been doing locally, nationally The FA has recently launched a new mental health guide for coaches and managers, and we would encourage anyone involved in grassroots football to digest the information and guidance in that document. The FA and ‘Heads Together’ have also teamed up to run a season-long campaign – Heads Up – to change the conversation on mental health.
“The donation made to North Staffs Mind from the Kieran Rutter Legacy Fund is not only a fantastic gesture from Steve and Alicia, but it’s also a great demonstration of the local football community coming together to support a very important cause that impacts on so many.”
For further information and guidance on mental health – and to download The FA’s mental health guide for coaches and managers – please visit www.thefa.com/about-football-association/heads-up