Hellingly All-weather Sports Pitch

Earlier in the year, Heads On officially unveiled the new all-weather sports pitch at The Hellingly Centre, which is a medium secure forensic mental health unit for people aged over 18. Patients are usually admitted to The Hellingly Centre for one to two years and are unable to leave the site to participate in sporting activities. Having the sports area within the secure site perimeter will allow all patients the opportunity to participate in sports, and therefore experience the mental and physical health benefits of sports participation.

Since opening, the pitch has been used for a variety of events; football, touch rugby, circuit training and even the Hellingly Festival, in which service users and staff relaxed outside with music and food. Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club run weekly football sessions on the pitch, and ward vs staff football matches have been arranged too.

Andrew Sutton, Physical Activities Lead, said “It has given us space to hold events that all our patients can use without leaving the site. The playing surface is fantastic and even after heavy rain it can be used as it drains very well. One of the most common comments from patients is [that] it feels normal and when they return to the wards their mood is improved”.

The pitch was funded by generous donations from The Peter Harrison Foundation, The Bernard Sunley Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust and Sport England.

How you can help

Whether you make a donation, attend an event or fundraise for us, every penny will help make life better for people with mental health problems.