Port Vale have agreed a pioneering partnership with psychological and technology resources company AIM-FOR which will offer free mental health support to players, club staff and supporters.
The EFL’s Community Club of the Year is investing in Mental Health Safety Net – a bespoke suite of digital tools which will enable club employees and supporters to identify issues which may be affecting them and access a raft of information support services.
The Safety Net, which will be launched by the club in the coming weeks, has been developed by AIM-FOR – the company which provides psychological resources to develop the performance and mental health of individuals, groups and organisations.
AIM-FOR was founded in 2013 by brothers Lee and Nick Richardson – combining Lee’s experiential and academic knowledge of psychology with Nick’s expertise in education and technology.
Lee is a British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered & Health Care Professionals Registered (HCPC) Sport & Exercise Psychologist and a former professional footballer who made 450+ first team appearances for clubs in England and Scotland before becoming a manager.
Since 2011, Lee has worked as a Performance Psychologist in a range of sports. In June 2019 was appointed to work with UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup winners, Liverpool F.C. He is also the long-standing performance psychologist at Lancashire County Cricket Club.
Nick is a former professional footballer who made more than 500 first team appearances before commencing a career in teaching.
Port Vale co-owner and Chair Carol Shanahan OBE said: “Fundamentally, at Port Vale we are passionate about helping people. I want this club to be an exemplar for supporting its employees – whether they be players or club staff from any department across the business.
“We all go through difficult times and we know that the challenges of the last 18 months have exacerbated mental health problems for people of all ages.
“Sadly, some people either don’t recognise they are experiencing mental health problems, don’t feel able to ask for help or simply don’t know where to go to access support.
“As a football club with a brand associated with elite sport, fitness and health Port Vale is perfectly-placed to guide people towards that help.
“I am delighted we are working in partnership with Lee and Nick who have a proven track record in sports psychology and education and are working with some top brands and industry innovators.
“It’s a hugely exciting project which I hope will be greatly beneficial to anyone associated with Port Vale FC.”
Lee Richardson added: “AIM-FOR is delighted to announce our partnership with Port Vale FC. The passion of Carol Shanahan OBE and the club’s board to provide all of its players, staff and supporters with our resources was thoroughly inspiring and we look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
Mind has helped change approach to mental health in the game over last four seasons – this is another example of how clubs are committed to improving mental health in the game.