Ministerial visit to Ochilview


Stenhousemuir Football Club welcomed the Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey MSP, to Ochilview Park on Friday 28th February.

The visit was arranged after the Scottish Government contacted the Club following a FIFA article on the Club’s Mental Health football programme.

The project was showcased by the world’s governing body last year with the article titled ‘Stenhousemuir’s Warriors leading mental health fight’. The full article can be viewed here:

The award-winning programme has also won national and regional awards from the Scottish FA. Now in its fourth year of operation, the programme is a pivotal part of the Club’s work aimed at improving the lives of disadvantaged groups in the community. This type of outreach work is a key element of the Club’s strategy and vision with further projects planned in the future.

In partnership with Occupational Services in Falkirk (Caledonia Services, Belsdyke Hospital and Woodlands Resource Centre) the Club welcomes individuals suffering from a range of mental health issues into Ochilview for a weekly programme. The participants receive expert coaching tuition and support from full-time Warriors in the Community staff every Friday afternoon. The participants are joined by occupational support workers John McGowan, Julie Cunnell and Jennifer Rodger with the programme working on a referral basis. They also participate in the Mental Health league, travelling the length and breadth of the country, where they proudly represent Stenhousemuir FC.

Minister Clare Haughey took the time to visit the Club and see the programme first-hand. The Minister and David Hamilton (Strategic Football Lead, Active Scotland Division) were greeted by Club CEO Jamie Swinney, Club Chairman Iain McMenemy and Directors Gordon Cook and Robert Beagley. Representatives from all 3 support services were present and participated in the discussion highlighting the strength of the partnership. Warriors in the Community staff Daniel Newbigging and Declan Kidd led the session and the Scottish FA was also represented on the day.


Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey commented

‘Our national game can be a powerful force of good for communities. The work delivered by Warriors in the Community highlights this, and the recognition received from world football governing body FIFA is richly deserved.

From watching the session in action and speaking to some of the participants, there is no doubt they benefit enormously from the programme. The camaraderie and joy were evident, and the results the programme has achieved are impressive.

There is no doubt that a genuine commitment to partnership working is central to the success. I was pleased health professionals are a crucial part of the team, bringing their experience and experience to complement the football activity.’

Chief Executive Jamie Swinney

‘Firstly, on behalf of the Board and everyone connected to Stenhousemuir FC we wish to thank the Minister for visiting the Club. We are very proud of this initiative and the incredibly positive difference it can make on someone’s life.

This programme illustrates the immense power and reach of football and the positive role in which football can play in society. We are honoured that a government Minister has recognised the Club and the programme as this reinforces our vision and values.

We also wish to thank our partners John, Julie and Jennifer for their fantastic contribution, we very much value their support and the strong relationships that have been created. Our final thanks must go to the players, who are an inspiration to us and continuously represent Stenhousemuir FC in a very positive manner.’

John McGowan, Senior Project Officer, Caledonia Service explained how beneficial the programme has been to those involved

‘The aim of the project is for football to help in people’s recovery as it can help to manage symptoms and can radically improve the quality of people’s lives. Without exception, our current group members have reported significant improvement in their physical and mental health whilst attending the group.’

The cost of the programme is met in full by Stenhousemuir FC with the support of its Warriors 11 partners. This programme demonstrates, perhaps better than any, the contribution the Club’s key partners make to Stenhousemuir FC and its local community. The Club also aims to bring in grant income annually to support the programme, with the hope of expanding the provision to support more people with mental health illnesses.

The Club has a few places remaining within its Warriors 11 partnership programme and welcomes interest from local businesses. If a core objective of your business is to make a positive difference within the community the Club would love to hear from you. Simply contact Jamie Swinney on 01324 562992 or email