Exploring the links between wellbeing and sport – a Q&A with Motherwell sponsors Paycare
The link between team sports and personal wellbeing is becoming ever more apparent – and if there’s one person who truly recognises that connection, it’s Paycare’s Sally Bromley.
Sally is the Health Cash Plan provider’s Partnerships Engagement Officer, meaning she’s regularly in touch with all of those sponsored by Paycare, including Motherwell FC.
We caught up with her to find out a little more about her role, and the importance of sport for health and happiness.
Q: Firstly, what’s your background and what does your role at Paycare involve?
A: Before joining Paycare, I worked in management – both in the graphic print and property lettings sectors. I’ve always been a self-confessed sportaholic, starting my own netball club 12 years ago and spending much of my free time coaching and encouraging participation in sports.
That’s what attracted me to the role at Paycare, because of the wonderful work they do with so many sports clubs locally, nationally and internationally.
As Partnerships Engagement Officer, I’m responsible for sourcing potential new groups, clubs and partners to work alongside, as well as building and developing existing partnerships, and being the first point of contact for those we sponsor.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the partnership between Motherwell and Paycare?
A: Our CEO Kevin Rogers was the driving force behind the sponsorship, he’s a huge fan and is often seen at games alongside other Paycare staff. For us, it’s important that the partnership goes deeper than simply having our logo on the players’ shirts.
Motherwell is a particularly family-orientated club whose values mirror our own – and we love the level of engagement the club has within the community, too.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for prominent sports stars such as the Motherwell team to promote health and wellbeing?
A: Footballers and other well-known sports stars are role models and as such can have great influence over others. Their reach enables them to spread the message of how important health and wellbeing is to lots of people – including many boys and men who are statistically more likely to neglect their physical and mental health. This is especially important post-pandemic when many more people are struggling with their wellbeing.
Q: In the past, footballers and others in the public eye may have been reluctant to talk about their wellbeing. Do you think this is changing now?
A: Definitely – national campaigns have really heightened awareness and there have been a number of high-profile sports stars who’ve talked openly about their health issues, paving the way for the generation following them.
It’s not only key for individuals to realise the positive influence talking about their wellbeing can have, but also for sporting organisations to do the same. WHO and FIFA signed a four-year deal in 2019 to promote healthy lifestyles through football and we’ve also had the #BeActive campaign during Covid and the #ReachOut campaign to encourage taking action to achieve better mental health.
FIFPRO research shows 23% of active players and 28% of retired players experience sleep disturbance; depression impacts 9% of active and 13% of retired footballers; and 7% and 11% respectively report having anxiety.
Q: Most of us know taking part in sport or exercise is beneficial, but could you share with us some of the key ways in which it can help your wellbeing?
A: There are so many benefits to sports participation and regular exercise, in addition to the physical health improvements you’ll see. Sport can reduce stress, anxiety and depression; increase self-esteem and confidence; improve sleep; and increase energy levels.
It really is a case of ‘the earlier, the better’ as we see children who start playing sports early on in life learning emotional control, communication skills, how to cope with failure, and lots of essential social skills which can all boost their wellbeing.
Q: How do you find being active personally supports your wellbeing?
When I was younger, being active was important simply because I enjoyed it, but as I’ve got older I’ve realised the impact on my physical and mental wellbeing. As a working mom, playing sport became my release from the stress of a busy schedule – it was a form of escapism and often gave me the motivation to get through the week.
Now my children are older and no longer live at home, it’s even more important for me to stay active as it provides important social connections, helps combat many issues associated with ageing, and helps keep my mind clear and focused.
Q: All exercise is beneficial, but are there any extra benefits to taking part in a team sport such as football?
A: A sense of belonging and being part of a community are both integral aspects of team sport – and we really saw the importance of that during the Coronavirus lockdowns. Collaborating and working together towards a common goal are also key, and doing so can really boost your self-confidence. Individuals are also less likely to give up exercising if it’s part of a team commitment, meaning they reap the benefits of long-term physical activity.
Paycare has almost 150 years of experience boosting the UK’s health and happiness, providing a range of solutions to ease the cost of everyday healthcare. This includes the low-cost high-value Bundle, which enables employers to support the physical, emotional and financial health of their teams – for just £2 per employee per month.
Bundle comprises three valuable aspects: a 24/7 GP appointment service, access to a telephone line for confidential chats and counselling, and Paycare Perks – discounts on everything from utilities and household items to fashion and holidays.
Visit www.paycare.org/wellbeing-bundle to find out more!