The existing Changing Room programme, funded by the Movember Foundation and run by SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) uses the power of sport to help improve people's mental wellbeing and is already running at 21 Scottish football clubs. Today the programme has been awarded £100,000 for expansion from the Scottish Government and a new extended version, Changing Room - Extra Time, will be delivered by the Rangers Charity Foundation, Aberdeen FC Community Trust, Big Hearts and Hibernian Community Foundation in partnership with the SPFL Trust. 

The new 12 week initiative builds on The Changing Room, an existing support service which uses football to bring men together to tackle mental health. It will provide an opportunity for individuals to explore specific areas that often challenge them including how they view themselves, think and feel – all of which impacts on their mental wellbeing. 

Lewis Melee, Chief Executive Officer at Hibernian Community Foundation said: 

“We are delighted to be involved in the Changing Room Extra Time project. This proves us with a real opportunity to not only expand our provision of community programmes but to develop our staff to ensure that we can provide the support our community requires. Tackling the stigma around mental wellbeing through the use of a unique venue such as Easter Road Stadium is shown to work. Changing Room – Extra Time arrives at Hibernian Community Foundation on the back of a very successful pilot with Hibernian FC. I am pleased to confirm that this partnership has been extended and that we look forward to hosting SAMH here at Easter Road once again. 

Mental Wellbeing Minister Kevin Stewart, who helped launch the initiative commented:

“Mental wellbeing has never been more important especially as we continue to deal with the ongoing pandemic and I am pleased to see this programme grow and develop.

“Although the focus is on four of our biggest clubs, which are all situated in urban areas, there is significant reach within those clubs across wider Scotland. My message is simple, we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about how we are feeling. This is an excellent way to combine football to improve mental wellbeing.”

Billy Watson, Chief Executive at SAMH said:

“It can be a struggle for many of us to talk about how we feel, and football is a really powerful way of bringing them together and encouraging them to open up.

“The Changing Room pilot projects have shown the difference the right support can make. Extra Time is a result of the value of this unique form of support being recognised not only by our pilot partners, but now also the Scottish Government and our new football club partners. Together, we’ve designed this expanded programme to fit the needs of people across the country, and we look forward to starting the next chapter of The Changing Room.”

The Changing Room at Hibernian Football Club: