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Active Recovery Moray launched to support mental health and addiction


By Chris Saunderson

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PEOPLE in Moray with mental health or addiction problems can play their way to recovery thanks to a new project.

Active Recovery Moray is a partnership between Police Scotland, Arrows Drug and Alcohol Support, Moray Community Sport Hubs and Elgin Sport Community Trust.

Its aim is to provide regular, free-to-access sporting opportunities for individuals affected by mental health or addiction problems.

Dimitris Chrysanthakopoulos, Community Sport Hubs development officer for Moray Council, said: “The impact and experience of Covid-19 has been different for everyone, as has how we have reacted, but there's no doubt it's been a really difficult time for us all.

"That's why it's so important to do what we can to look after our mental health and wellbeing, now more than ever. Active Recovery Moray uses sport and physical activity as a means to help people in Moray improve their mental health and overall wellbeing.”

The benefits of sport and exercise are widely documented in relation to mental health and addiction issues, but the initiative also aims to provide a platform to develop social inclusion, access to services and enhanced life skills and opportunities.

Initial funding has come from Arrows, Police Scotland and Moray Community Sport Hubs to launch adult football sessions on Tuesday, June 14 from 1-3pm at the Gleaner Arena in Elgin.

It is hoped once this is established, that a further Friday session can be added, aimed at supporting older children impacted by addiction and mental health problems.

Justin Jansen, service manager for Arrows Drug and Alcohol Support, added: “We would like to thank Police Scotland, Moray Community Sport Hubs and the Elgin Sports Community Trust for partnering up with Arrows to develop Active Recovery Moray.

"This project supports vulnerable people and those who engage with the Arrows service in sporting activities which aid in recovery by providing mental health wellness, connection, belonging, physical health and a life of enjoyment through sport.

"We are extremely proud to be a part of wellness for Moray."

The initiative was launched on May 28 with a fun five-a-side session at Gleaner Arena involving the partner agencies, alongside clients of Arrows who had already expressed an interest in participating in the project.

The event was a great success and six teams took part and based on feedback received everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Scott Brander, a Police Sergeant in Elgin, said: “The aim of the project is to work collectively to support recovery through exercise and participation in sports, offering not only healthier choices but also social benefits and hopefully opportunities for further skills development.

"Whilst the project is in its infancy, the support received from local groups such as the Elgin Sports Community Trust has been phenomenal, and we hope to be able to expand the reach of the project, into other sports or activities across Moray."

And Robbie Hope, director of operations for Elgin Sports Community Trust said they were delighted to host the Active Recovery Moray event at the Gleaner Arena.

"Elgin Sports Community Trust is looking forward to the next stage of this project and working with all the other partners, to help make a difference in people’s lives."

If any other local agencies are able to contribute to or enhance this initiative, you can get in touch with Dimitris.chrysanthakopoulos@moray.gov.uk for more info.



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