Guildhall Square will be transformed into a five-a-side arena this weekend, as Saints Foundation, Southampton City Council and local mental health support organisations team up for the Saints vs Stigma Football Festival.
The event is being held to raise awareness of mental health and to encourage people to join the city-wide movement against stigma.
One in four people will experience a mental health problem this year, yet many suffer in silence. This can result in an individual not seeking help before reaching crisis point.
That’s why Saints Foundation and the city are uniting, using football to raise the topic locally and encourage people to speak up about mental health issues and speak out against stigma.
Teams representing the city’s young people, adults and senior residents will compete alongside special guest teams from Arsenal, Brighton, Norwich and Belgian club Gent, as well as a Southampton Labour Party vs Conservative Party match.
Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation and Community Partnerships, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the City Council on this event, which forms part of our ‘Saints Together’ week.
"We hope that it will help break down the stigma and associated issues surrounding mental health, an issue that underpins many of the projects that Saints Foundation deliver.
"These three days will bring together people of all ages and backgrounds with whom the Foundation work, and help to support positive mental health in the city.”
There are a host of activities taking place for spectators to get involved with while they watch the action:
Saints Street Football Exhibition
Saturday 29th April
• Special guest teams will travel from Gent, Arsenal, Brighton and Norwich to take part in a street football exhibition with two teams from Southampton FC.
• Elected members from Southampton City Council’s will compete as Labour Party vs Conservative Party
• Southampton Ukulele Jam will play live at 12.15pm
• The Red Lipstick Foundation, Southampton Healthy Living, Samaritans, The Time to Change Pop-Up Cinema will all be attending.
Senior Saints Shield
Sunday 30th April
• Six local walking football teams will compete to showcase the benefits of the sport on physical and mental health
• The Alzheimer’s Society and the Dementia Friendly City Project, Time to Change will be attending.
More information about the event, location and timings is available by clicking here.