Wakefield Pumas want to set up football academy in the city

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A football scheme has been helping to improve the lives of people with mental health conditions.

And Janette Hynes, who has put her heart and soul into running the project, wants to open an academy in Wakefield which would also help to get young people not in education or work off the streets.

Ms Hynes, of the Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) Sports charity, founded the Wakefield Pumas team in 2010.

The team allows people with mental health issues, including depression and schizophrenia, to keep active and meet new people.

Ms Hynes’ idea was born in London in 2002.

She said: “I brought it to Wakefield because there was a need for it here.

“When you’ve got a mental health condition you don’t need to sit there and do nothing to recover, you can get still get out and do things.”

Ms Hynes said she would set up her academy at Wakefield Sports Club, on Eastmoor Road – but needs up to £100,000 in funding.

She said: “There are already so many people interested, and I’m having to turn them down. It’s a shame when you feel you’ve got a solution to a problem but you’re restricted by funding.

“Even if businesses or sportspeople could donate kits, footballs or other equipment to help us get things going, that would be great.”

Janet Ross, of Middlestown, has supported the team since her son William, who had psychosis and depression, died in April last year.

She said: “William’s self-confidence was originally very low, he would wear a baseball cap and keep his head down.

“But he loved football, and while he was playing for the team I gradually noticed that he’d wear his cap less and start to make eye contact a lot more.

“It also gave him a reason to keep fit. I’m just so glad that he had something so positive in the last couple of years of his life, and someone as inspirational as Janette.”

A fundraising event will take place at Wakefield Sports Club on Friday, August 30, from 8pm. To donate to the scheme, call 07508 409622.