Time to Tackle the stigma of mental health in Ayrshire

June 2022

Local rail infrastructure contractor, QTS Group, has announced a new partnership with mental health charity, Time to Tackle.

The charity, which was co-founded by ex-footballer, Aaron Connolly and his wife Siobhan, focuses on helping those struggling with mental health through the medium of sport.

Launching on Friday 17th June at St Joseph’s Academy in Kilmarnock is Ayrshire’s first Time to Tackle group, funded by QTS. The group will meet every Friday between 630pm – 730pm for football, then from 730pm – 830pm for peer support.

Aaron himself has struggled with his mental health over the years and is committed to helping others since the inception of Time to Tackle in October 2019.

He said:

“My mental health has taken me on a difficult journey over the last 15 years and one of the things I have learned that really helps me is opening up and talking about my experiences. I developed the idea for Time to Tackle after a particularly difficult time in 2019 after I tried to take my own life. I’ve always loved football and it seemed a natural fit to incorporate this into the model for the charity.

“When QTS got in touch and offered to support the opening of a group in Ayrshire, we jumped at the chance. The fact that a local business is funding it so that the whole community can access it truly is fantastic.

“Everyone is welcome to attend. We spend an hour playing football noncompetitively and then we have an hour where we can sit together and talk. There’s no pressure to open up about how your feeling, but I can’t stress enough how much it can help, especially in such a supportive environment.”

Barry McLeish, Operations Director for QTS said:

“As a business, QTS is committed to helping our employees with not only their physical wellbeing but their mental wellbeing too. When we heard about Time to Tackle, we invited Aaron to come along to speak to some of our staff about the importance of speaking out if you are struggling.

“At that point, Time to Tackle didn’t have a presence in Ayrshire and we felt that it wasn’t just our staff that would possibly benefit from it, but the local community too.

“We are happy to fund this service for Ayrshire and hope that it encourages more people to come out, have a game of football and open up about how they are feeling.”

The group is open to all QTS staff and also residents across Ayrshire. It is free to attend, with no pressure on repeat attendance or participation.

Time to Tackle the stigma of mental health in Ayrshire

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