August 5 2016
A Lowland League Football team and Dumfries and Galloway Council have teamed up to promote equality and mental health to fans of the ‘Beautiful Game.’
Annandale East and Eskdale Cllr Archie Dryburgh will use his councillors grant for 2016/17 in a deal to sponsor Gretna FC 2008 which will see the club’s players take to the field in strips promoting equalities charity Nil by Mouth and the Healthy Working Lives campaign.
Healthy Working Lives is an NHS service that aims to assist the self-employed and employees of small enterprises employing less than 50 staff who are experiencing injury or ill health and having difficulty remaining at work. Nil by Mouth was set up by Glasgow teenager Cara Henderson following the murder of her schools friend Mark Scott in 1996. It seeks to challenge offensive behaviour at matches and encourage wider participation in the sport.
The initiative aims to promote the work of both groups to football fans across the region and is the latest exciting off the field development for Gretna FC 2008 which this summer launched its ‘walking football initiative’ for the over 40s. It is hoped the high profile sponsorship will raise awareness of both equality and mental health issues to the hundreds of fans who will watch the team perform this season. The tie-up will also see Nil by Mouth sponsor matches and work with local schoolchildren.
The new strip for the 2016/17 season was launched at a photo call at Raydale Park on Friday 5th August.
Stuart Rome, from Gretna 2008 FC said:
“’We are very excited for the season ahead and it’s great to have this support from our local Councillor. We are a club that values our links with the community and we are delighted to be reinforcing these important messages through our strips I can’t thank everyone enough for their contributions towards the club. We are hoping for a great season for Gretna: on and off the pitch.”
Richard Smith, from Healthy, Working Lives said:
“Football can be a great way of encouraging people to be more active while having a good time. Being Active has many health benefits, reducing the risk of a range of diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. For adults, over a week, activity should add up to at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity activity and needs to be done in bouts of 10 minutes or more. One way to manage this is to build up to 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week. So whether it is walking to the game or walking football these help to contribute to your 2.5 hours a week. Other ways to be more active are gardening, washing the car along with sport e.g. bowls, golf, running, cycling or swimming are all good ways to be more active.”
Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:
“This is a fantastic gesture from both the Councillor and Gretna FC. Archie Dryburgh has been a great supporter of our work over recent years and back in March he arranged for us to visit Gretna Primary to work with the pupils. This gesture is typical of the man. He places great value in teamwork and plays a real ‘team captains’ role in his area. This is a unique partnership and the first of its kind for the Lowland League. Football provides a great way of reaching people and highlighting important issues such as equality and mental health.
This will be the first time Nil by Mouth have featured on a senior football teams strip and we are already arranging a trip for our staff and volunteers to visit Gretna early in the new season to cheer the team on.”
Cllr Archie Dryburgh said:
“Football is a real passion of mine and I was a volunteer at Annan Athletic for a number of years. I’m very proud of all the local clubs in our region and know that football can be a real force for good. That’s why I decided to use my grant for this year to help promote both the sport and two causes I feel very passionate about. We hope this initiative will reach fans and encourage them to find out more about the work of both Healthy Working Lives and Nil by Mouth so that it can be a successful season on and off the pitch at Gretna.”