Mutual Respect Award winner: September
Lucas Capalbo has helped the mental health of young people at his local club.
Published on: 7 January 2022
Lucas Capalbo from Bloomsbury Football Foundation in London is the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award winner for September.
The award recognises outstanding contributions, achievements and behaviour in grassroots football by players under 18, coaches, teams, parents and referees.
Lucas was praised for his ‘remarkable’ work during the pandemic by assisting the mental health of 300 young people at his local football club.
The Nationwide Mutual Respect Award panel said: “we’re delighted to give this award to Lucas for his brilliant work during the pandemic in his local London football community.”
Lucas receives a trophy, the accolade of being the monthly Nationwide Mutual Respect Award winner and tickets to an England game.
Lucas said the pandemic encouraged him to support ‘our young players’ mental health’.
“First, we developed a series of online sessions to help players, aged 8 to 15, learn about strategies to overcome mental health issues, such as anxiety and stress.
“We created a fictional character, named Bear, who has mental health issues and asked players to find solutions based on their knowledge and experiences.”
He added: “The players were encouraged to transfer all knowledge discussed in the sessions from a football context to their everyday lives.”
Lucas said the aim was to raise awareness about mental health, promote respect towards those struggling with it, and empower children to prevent and reduce mental health issues at early stages.
“For each session, we recorded a video containing the major lessons around the topic. The videos are for the children who couldn’t attend the sessions, and those from different clubs and sports.
“This initiative led us to develop the Player and Staff Care programme to provide mental health support to both our players and coaches year-round.”
Since launching in May 2021, the programme has partnered and received funds from sports charity London Youth to deliver a mental health programme for female players.
“The girls met weekly to talk about mental health,” said Lucas. “We also developed a referral system where coaches trained to identify young players who may be dealing with mental health issues and encouraged coaches to refer these players to us.
“We’re now working with mental health charity Mind’s Physical Activity team to develop an action plan to strengthen our mental health support within our club and community.”
The Mutual Respect Award is part of our partnership with the Football Association's Respect campaign. It aims to make grassroots football more respectful and positive.
You can nominate your child, their referees, officials, a parent helper or a club. You can make one nomination per month.
Nominations close at 11.59 pm on the 21st of each month.
We'll use the contact details provided to contact you if your nomination wins.
Our target is to engage with one million parents and coaches in the FA Respect Campaign as a part of a three-year partnership.
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