Rovers' Academy Partners with Go Again Charity

Bristol Rovers FC Academy and Go Again Charity will embark on a potentially ground-breaking partnership next week.

Go Again are multidisciplinary team of experienced mental health professionals, trainee sport psychologists and current/former professional athletes and coaches with a passion for mental health.

Bristol Rovers Academy will become the first academy to incorporate experienced mental health practitioners from Go Again, in order to provide holistic support to their players and to promote a culture where talking about mental health is seen as a strength, which will support player development, wellbeing and performance.

Go Again Founder Robert Broomhead said ‘’Go Again have been running as a charity since February 2022, with the aim of providing free professional psychological support for people within sport, at any level.

“We aim to provide free access to our team of mental health professionals, trainee sport psychologists and counsellors alongside current and former player mentors who have experienced psychological challenges in their career. 

“We have so far provided support for over 30 clubs, including 17 EFL academies, using a joint fundraising model. We fund professional practitioners to provide one-to-one sessions and educational workshops through joint fundraising events with our partner clubs and academies.

"We will be working alongside Bristol Rovers FC to set up future fundraising events. A team of our volunteers will be attending the match v Derby on 9th March where we will be fundraising. It will be great chat with fans about the work we will be doing with the Academy.

Jacob Kelly who will be providing support on behalf of Go Again Charity said -

“I’m so excited to get this fantastic opportunity and really appreciate Byron seeing the incredible value in this vitally important work. It feels especially special for my family, as my great uncle David Stone was an academy player before going on to play 148 games for Bristol Rovers, as well as captaining the club.

“I have over 15 years of experience working within the NHS mental health services in Bristol, as well as my own lived experiences of struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. Over the last 5 years, I’ve been running a local NHS mental health football project and have had the opportunity to work closely with many current and former Bristol Rovers players such as Stuart Sinclair, Chris Lines and Chris Martin. Working with these players has given me an insight into the inner workings of professional football, which I believe will stand me in good stead when working with the players at Bristol Rovers.” 

Byron Anthony said "The academy is delighted to welcome Jacob to the team to further enhance our well-being support for players and staff. I was first introduced to Jacob during a Talk Club session at The Memorial Stadium, and we seem to have similar views regarding player care support in football. In recent seasons we have been working with Go Again charity to provide well-being support for players as they transition through the development phases, heading towards senior football.

"Jacob, a mental health professional with 15 years’ worth of experience, will focus on one-to-one support sessions across all age groups. This will make Bristol Rovers’ academy the first in the UK to incorporate such high-level wellbeing support into their programme."

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