Foundation Diaries | Rachel's story

Today’s third instalment of the Wolves Foundation diaries is also the third instalment from our Health & Wellbeing Manager, Rachel Smith.

It has been a busy time for Rachel and the health team at the Foundation, supporting people as the lockdown restrictions are eased and making that gradual progress towards hopefully returning to more face-to-face delivery.

Click here for a reminder of Rachel’s first diary from last December and here for the second instalment in March.


Hello everyone and welcome to the third and final instalment of my diary.

It has, as ever, been a busy few months for the health and wellbeing team at Wolves Foundation, particularly as we moved through different stages of the Covid-19 restrictions and continued to adapt our activities in line with regulations.

One of the big highlights since I last did a diary in March, was the activities organised around Mental Health Awareness Week in May, including the fantastic music video put together by our Head 4 Health group.

Head 4 Health is a  project run by the Foundation thanks to funding from the Premier League, PFA, City of Wolverhampton Council and Wolverhampton CCG aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of men from the local area.

When we asked the group what they wanted to do to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, they came up with the idea of a music video and so, with some great help from band Junomoon, and RML Studios at Newhampton Arts Centre, a new version of ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ was recorded.

Our Health Officer Steve Maiden was brilliant in how he helped shape the project, but what was so good to see was how the guys were so pro-active in getting involved with many coming right out of their comfort zones to sing and be filmed on the recording.

I can’t say enough how really proud we were of them both in how they continued to tackle some serious mental health issues but also in embracing this idea and having so much fun at the same time.

You can see their video by clicking here to watch on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.

As much as a lot of people have understandably been excited about the easing of restrictions over the last few months, we know both that we still need to be careful around Covid-19, and also that for some people, a return to normality carries with it a lot of fear and concern.

For many people, isolation and taking a step back from normal interactions in society had become something of a relief, so we led an anxiety workshop for anyone who felt worried about that return to normality to look at coping mechanisms and how they can adapt to such a major change of routine.

Our focus in this respect has always been about how best to support our participants as their lives have changed in so many different ways over the last year and a half.

Another major highlight of the last few months has been our ‘Play on the Pitch’ activities at the end of last season.

This offered participants from across our health projects the chance to play at Molineux, which they all really enjoyed.

Again with Head 4 Health, some of those guys had never actually met face to face – they had only seen each other on Zoom and even then some didn’t have their cameras on – so it was such a nice experience to see them meet up together, in person, for the first time.

Many of our participants are Wolves fans so the chance to grace the Molineux turf was particularly special although it wasn’t just about football.

We organised multi-sports sessions as well, and I’m not sure bowls has been played on the pitch too many times before!

Participants on our Healthy Goals programme which is for pre-school children and their families also attended Play on the Pitch to take part in an obstacle course while we also had a penalty shootout with Wolfie as a goalkeeper which was extremely popular.

We have managed to hold some Stay and Play sessions at Molineux now for the Healthy Goals group which was great after holding the sessions ‘virtually’ for so long, and plan to bring the Head 4 Health meetings back to the stadium as well now that restrictions are easing.

We know that we still need to be careful and the health and safety of our staff and participants is paramount for all of us moving forward, but it does feel like we are making progress in the right direction.

And talking of progressing in the right direction, the health team is growing as well!

We are delighted to have added Matt to our team as a Health Activator who will work across all of the health projects that the Foundation run.

We are also recruiting for a couple of other roles at the moment as we continue to try and develop both our team and our programme yet further to support the health and wellbeing of the residents of Wolverhampton.

And, on top of all that, I also managed to sneak in a little break as well!

I managed to head down to Cornwall for a few days, which was the first holiday I have had since 2018.  It was certainly well worth the wait.

Thank you again for reading my diary instalments and please keep an eye on the Foundation’s website and social media channels for all the news and updates around our health projects.

I hope you are able to enjoy a relaxing and – hopefully at some stage - a sunshine-filled summer!