Campaign: Be A Game Changer
Ashley Lowe, Health and Wellbeing Manager
We launched our mental health campaign, Be A Game Changer, in 2019, using the power of football to play a part in addressing the region’s mental health crisis.
The core purpose was to target those NUFC fans who rarely rely on the NHS or engage with traditional wellness campaigns, but who are inspired by the United crest. As such, our mental health messages were built around football.
What has the effect of winning the award had on your campaign?
Because of the evidence-based assessment and prestige of the RSPH awards, winning has meant we were able to go back to the funders and obtain further funding. This means that as well as funding the campaign for another year, we hope to reach out to other Newcastle United supporters with the campaign and increase our reach and impact.
What made you want to enter the award initially?
We believed our campaign was benefitting our supporters and felt entering the RSPH award would help us add further evidence to this, The Foundation is also really keen to share success and best practice, so we thought this would help us share the campaign objective and design with other clubs, allowing more people to access mental health support within a familiar and known environment.
It also added a lot of value when we applied to further funding bids, having the endorsement of an RSPH award has raised our profile and underpinned our applications meaning we are able to grow the campaign.
How did you find the application process?
It was quite long, but we weren’t put off, we understood that the awards are worthwhile and with merit. Asking for the detailed evidence and impact meant we knew the awards were taken seriously and that even being a finalist was a great achievement for us.
What advice would you give to people considering entering the awards, but worried about amount of work?
There’s a lot of things you can do to help yourself, the first is don’t put it off and wait until the last few days to enter. Also, get as much help from others as possible from the get go, you need a lot of information and working together helped a lot.
I found asking peers to read the application when it was nearly finished really helped with some aspects, which we were able to review and add information to.
How did you feel when Newcastle United Foundation was announced the winner?
Ecstatic! We couldn’t believe it. We wanted to create a change, to reduce the stigmatism associated with asking for help mental health issues. And this proved we had done it. Our hard work had paid off. We shared the news on our mobiles and sent pictures so everyone knew. And our funders were thrilled when we told them, and that meant we could continue the campaign and start more conversations about mental health.