Hendon Football Club has offered free entry for anyone struggling with their mental health in a move that has been praised by football fans across the board.
Simon Lawrence, the club chairman, was inspired to act after Dermot Drummy, one of Hendon’s greatest ever players, took his own life at the age of 56 in late 2017. He explains:
Hendon has been really good at putting stuff back into the community in the last couple of years. When Dermot died, I was really emotionally invested and thought it was time for the club to do something. I was chatting to another fan who remembered Dermot fondly and the idea was born out of that.
The club’s Twitter feed states:
Our offer of free entry for anyone battling depression, loneliness, isolation or any other mental health condition remains for this season and beyond. Football can often provide some relief and respite for a couple of hours from the constant mental anguish one experiences.
Lawrence explains that since matches rarely if ever sell out, it makes complete sense and costs the club nothing:
If one person comes along and it changes their life than that would be far more gratifying than three points ever could be. It might sound trite but mental health isn’t always obvious like a plaster cast would be with an injury. We might not be able to diagnose someone but we can give them 90 minutes of football to enjoy.
The initiative was actually launched two years ago but with a growing awareness of mental health has picked up traction this year and has been very much welcomed by the football community.