Exclusive Interview: Conor McBrearty – QPR in the Community

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tacklingstigma talks to Conor McBrearty, Inclusive Projects Manager for QPR in the Community on the subject of mental health and the programmes they offer. The Community Trust became a Registered Charity in 2009 and since their inception they have won many awards.

Some of the awards they have won include:

  • Autism Access Award in 2015
  • Community Club of the Year Best Disability Project in 2011
  • Hammersmith & Fulham Community Sports Awards: Senior Sports Club of the Year 2011
  • Hammersmith & Fulham Community Sports Awards: Sports Award for a Youth Engagement Project 2011
  •  Hammersmith & Fulham Community Sports Awards: Inclusive and Active Award
  • Healthy Living Initiative South Kilburn: “Participate for Health” award
  • The ‘Show Racism the Red Card – Hall of Fame’
  • The Football League – Family Excellence Award 2008

 

This community scheme has reached over half a million children across a number of London Boroughs and their impact continues to grow. Conor speaks of the five main inclusive projects and what each one entails.

Tiger Cubs: This project is for both adults and children who wish to take part in football. They also offer tennis and other multisports events. Tournaments and travel events are also included in association with DSA (Downs Syndrome Association).

Healthy Kickers: This is a mental health project in partnership with Central and North West London NHS trust. Conor explains that for this project, they are also linked with Mind and other local charities. The in reach part of the project involves visiting patients on wards and the outreach part includes community session once a week. Healthy Kickers offers weightlifting sessions linked with Kensington Sports Development Team. Tournaments and social events take place as well as a celebration event at the end of the year. Conor emphasises the point that this project, “gets people out doing sport”.

Special Needs Schools: The inclusive project manager talks briefly of the sessions they deliver to schools in the borough. There are currently eight different special needs schools that they work with, delivering sessions weekly.

Inclusive United: This Project is in partnership with Wembley Stadium Trust and an organisation called Interactive. This is a three year programme trying to get as many people involved as possible with various disabilities. Conor also reiterates how important it is to direct children to other disability clubs to ensure they play as much as possible. This project has already worked with families affected my autism, communication needs, developmental delays and various others.

Volunteering/Work Experience: QPR in the Community offer work experience and volunteer opportunities to those with mental health problems.

Conor McBrearty elaborates on the opportunities offered to service users and states, “we set up social events where their parents and siblings are welcome to come along too”. “We work with other partners to help them with sports days and youth clubs”. Some of the other prospects involved are summer soccer schools and half term camps.

When asked about his opinion on mental health in football Conor responds, “I think it’s improving – the recognition is improving across all levels and sports”. He stresses, “sport is a way of helping people, it is important in the recovery of people too”. “It’s a bit of a problem as there isn’t enough funding being allocated to mental health”.

Inclusive Projects Manager Conor McBrearty speaks highly of tacklingstigma and the idea behind my blog. “It is really good what you’re doing, social media amongst others is really starting to improve, and it’s a good way of advertising”. “People are being referred to programmes through the use of social media, websites and blogs like yours”.

I’d like to thank Conor for his time and I wish him all the best for his future projects.

 

You can find out more about QPR in the Community by visiting their website.
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