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Taking Collective Action

Valley Rangers Football Club operating within the rural Kilkeel area of the Mournes creates an opportunity for their members (aged five to adults) to be supported on their football journey. The Club is in a unique position to engage with males about their health and wellbeing on a regular basis.

Valley Rangers previously received Level 1 BCPP funding of £2,500 and the project was such a success that they teamed up with Annalong Pharmacy to apply for a Level 2 grant of £10,000. This group of 11 men (team players and coaches) along with the Pharmacist used a community development approach to explore common issues and take collective action to find solutions.

Over 14 weeks, Pharmacist Martin Mallett delivered 10 sessions and on four occasions he co-facilitated sessions with community/voluntary partners to explore a range of health topics using different delivery styles and adopted a trusting space for the participants to ask questions.  These sessions gave the group an improved knowledge of local services and support for health and social issues.

PIPS Hope and Support delivered awareness sessions which were both informative and relevant given that mental health issues are high on everyone’s agenda. At this session, the group heard about the Community Champions training which PIPs offers on suicide awareness and some members will complete this training later in the year.  The Pharmacist delivered a range of different interactive sessions on topics which the group requested including physical health, emotional wellbeing, Covid and the vaccination.

By the end of the BCPP project, the whole group said they felt more confident and knew where to go locally if they needed help. The group now has the health literacy understanding and confidence to approach their local Pharmacist for a wide range of issues. The confidence and life skills of the group have increased and they feel that they can support children and signpost young people and their families should they need help and support.

Although the men knew each other well, it was extremely beneficial to explore further mental health and wider health issues with the Pharmacist who has extensive knowledge. Martin now has a better insight into the health issues within the community and the group members’ lives.  From co-facilitating the community/voluntary organisations presentations, he also gained an improved knowledge of local services and is better able to signpost.

I found a great benefit in delivering this project with Valley Rangers Football and believe it has strengthened our knowledge of the issues. I was able to provide additional knowledge and support to the group around minor ailments, smoking cessation and managing medicines. I hope to work with this group of men again in the future.”

Martin Mallet, Annalong Pharmacy

I found the project really interesting and have a greater understanding about the pharmacy and the services they offer, it’s not just medication. I feel more comfortable going in and asking for their advice. I am also more aware of the different organisations in my area that can help.”

Mervin Teggarty, Coach, Valley Rangers

It was great to get to know Martin, the Pharmacist and understand what he does. As a Club we all have a greater awareness of how and why we should look after our health more. We all learnt more about different health matters and where to go to get help.”

Neil Ardis, Chairperson, Valley Rangers