By Jordan Alexander Jones
We Wear the Same Shirt claimed the Grassroots Project of the Year at the 2019 FAW Grassroots Football Association Awards.
The annual event, which celebrates the dedication and commitment shown by clubs, coaches, players, and volunteers from across the country, took place ahead of Wales’ Euro 2020 qualifier against Croatia in October.
It is a football programme which is designed specifically for people with lived experience of mental health, aiming to combat the stigma that surrounds the topic.
Emily Edwards, a lead coach with County in the Community, gained employment through attending a ‘We Wear the Same Shirt’ session.
She had been volunteering for three years, before gaining part-time employment with Newport. Emily continues her woodwork in the community after receiving help from Norman Parselle, who has been influential in her development as a coach.
"I’m doing something I love and I am helping people, that is really rewarding for me," said Edwards.
"Without this (We Wear The Same shirt) I don’t know where I would be. It is such a fantastic thing to be involved in."
Norman Parselle - head of community at Newport County - has been a Community Development Officer with the Exiles since 2013.
The 49-year-old is a popular figure in the Gwent and has praised the campaign for its impact.
"It’s one of the best programs I have ever been involved with,” added Parselle.
“I have seen people who hardly wanted to talk to anyone when they first come and now they come and shake everyone’s hand.
“It’s not just a session on a Thursday afternoon, it’s coming along to matches and helping out and volunteering.
“They feel part of the bigger picture in society and their local community.”