Everton held an event for a group of ex-service personnel this week to help mark Armistice Day.
The Blues' official charity, Everton in the Community, run an exercise programme, known as Inside Right, for ex-service personnel who are at risk of developing or who have mental health problems.
The programme is designed to support veterans who are at risk of becoming isolated once they have returned to civilian life, and is backed by leading military organisations including The Royal British Legion, Combat Stress, the RAF Benevolent Fund and ABF The Soldiers' Charity and also the Football Foundation and Comic Relief.
The participants took part in a football training event at Garston Leisure Centre especially organised as part of Poppy Week to recognise the sacrifice of our brave service men and women from conflicts past and present and the need to support those ex-personnel who have returned from the frontline.
Recent research by the Centre for Suicide Prevention, which was funded by the Ministry of Defence, discovered that young ex-servicemen are more likely to take their own lives than their civilian counterparts. Of the 233,803 individuals who left the armed forces during the last five years, 224 took their own lives.
The Welfare Needs Survey, which was carried out by The Royal British Legion, also revealed that 36 per cent of respondents never leave their home, with 16 per cent citing isolation difficulties.
Working closely with the British Legion, Inside Right not only promotes physical activity but also the chance to gain football coaching qualifications as well as wider training courses. The project also aims to harness the feel-good factor of playing football by creating opportunities to volunteer and compete in leagues and competitions, helping our troops to cope more effectively with the transition back into civilian life.
Jonathan Garside, mental health football co-ordinator for Everton in the Community, said: "The Inside Right programme is vitally important to help veterans integrate back into civilian life and will lead us to an increased understanding of the health and wellbeing among ex-military personnel.
"The Remembrance Day football event was a fitting opportunity for us to highlight the support some of our troops need when they leave the forces. Everton work closely with all the organisations involved to ensure ex-service men and women receive the help they need."
The image is of participants (l-r ) Michael Dougherty and Phil Roberts at the Inside Right event with veteran Craig Lundberg, who plays for Everton's blind team.
For more information or to sign up to the Inside Right programme, visit evertonfc.com/community or call 0151 530 5253.
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