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Work Programme: All to Play For

The Programme: All To Play For

“All To Play For” is a collaborative initiative with Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. It offers weekly socially inclusive football sessions as a means to assist men aged 18+ who are grappling with mental health challenges.

These sessions provide an avenue for men to access mental health support and a comprehensive range of holistic health and wellbeing services to to address various lifestyle concerns. The project’s significance lies in demonstrating the potent impact of physical activity and peer support in effectively engaging with men.

2023-2024 Data Insights

The “All to Play For” programme has improved the health and wellbeing of over 400 men facing mental health challenges in Norfolk. It has received recognition from Norfolk & Waveney ICB and Public Health Norfolk for its valuable work in addressing health inequalities and improving the lives of vulnerable individuals in priority areas. The programme has resulted in positive outcomes, including better mental health, reduced isolation, and increased access to support services.

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Participants engaged

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providers engaged


Participants reported reduced stress and anxiety (%)

Impact Summary: All To Play For

The impact All To Play For has made on participants’ lives has been significant, with nearly all reporting an upturn in personal confidence which has, in many cases, led to other positive lifestyle changes. While the success of the programme has been a lifeline for many men with mental health problems in Norfolk, there is still work to do.

The district health and wellbeing partnership in Norwich and has awarded All to Play For funding for 2023-2024 to support non-clinical interventions targeting vulnerable men. This funding will enable the project to continue to support vulnerable men in the highest areas of need across Norwich until 2025.

The continuation of the project will also provide an opportunity to continue to strengthen links across health and wellbeing services to ensure men continue to get the support they need to flourish.

Covid-19 has shone the spotlight on the need for these types of interventions, to reduce social isolation and improve the resilience of our vulnerable communities. This year the project has widened and strengthened its partnerships, creating stronger integration with services and accessible links to wider support. We have partnered up with Public Health Norfolk’s SOS bus and have provided men with access to physical health screenings and treatment, including Covid-19 vaccinations, hepatitis C testing and NHS health checks. 

The current cost of living crisis has shown an increase demand in men needing financial support and the sessions have provided a platform where this support can be integrated at sessions. Being able to provide sessions for free on a weekly basis is still crucial in eliminating barriers to engaging in community interventions. Recently, All to Play For has also created links with a local gambling charity, ‘Reframe Coaching’, enabling us to provide localised gambling support for the first time as opposed to signposting to national support lines. 

Since relaunching after the pandemic 77% of participants reported their mental health is worse as a result of covid-19 and enforced isolation. 80% of participants report experiencing improved mood as a result of attending, and participants are also reporting accessing additional services such as stress management and employment support as a result of attending All to Play For. This year has seen a further increase in participants accessing employment support off the back of attending the project, with 72% reporting they had more information and support to find employment.



In addition to improving the mental health of men in Norfolk and increasing their accessibility to holistic support, All to Play For is also facilitating connectivity internally within NHS services and supporting better integration of our voluntary sector and the role it can play in helping the strain on our NHS. The model enables local mental health services to become better aware and engage more with other voluntary and statutory sector partners.

2023-24 has seen a particular improvement in collaboration with NSFT’s early intervention in psychosis department. The partnership is going from strength to strength with a solid two way referral pathway established between All to Play For and their service. Many men across Norfolk are using ATPF as part of their patient care plan and reaping the benefits. It’s now considered a vital part of the way the Early Intervention service is delivered for men under their care and is preventing service users needing more acute level of mental health care.

Early 2024 saw a significant expansion of the Active NoW exercise referral programme, now encompassing a new referral pathway specifically designed for patients living with a stable Severe Mental Illness (SMI) diagnosis. All to Play For has been identified as one of the suitable activities that will be supporting patients with SMI coming through the pathway. The sessions will be supporting patients to help manage their SMI independently and provide them with the opportunity to meet like-minded people.