Old Pepys Veterans

Old Pepys Veterans; a new club for old timers.

Ha-ha – O.K, 34 years old isn’t that old, but we’re not exactly spring chickens I suppose. First of all, we’d like to thank Steve for affording us the opportunity to introduce ourselves here on his website, I hope by the end of this you’ll all be hopping over to our socials to give us some much needed love and support, or even better, lacing up and joining us on the pitch as soon as lockdown is over!

Anyway, my name is Ben, and I am the chair and founder of brand-new Old Pepys veterans football club. I founded the team amidst a global pandemic last year, a strange time to start a new venture I hear you say. Well, yes, I suppose it was, but perhaps when you discover the ethos of our club you will realise why us, and why now. 

As the pandemic unfolded over 2020, I started to notice that the general mental wellbeing of the population seemed to be in decline. I noticed this on a personal level, in my friendship circles and on a wider societal level. The feelings of isolation and loneliness crept in for many of us. We started to notice that those little weekly meet ups with friends, or that trip to the gym, meant far more than we’d ever imagined before. I realised that coming out of lockdown, there would be need for a direct response to this, to ensure we repaired broken minds, and reconnected communities, and so, Old Pepys VFC was born. What started as a conversation with my partner about a pipe dream, quickly turned into a reality. With the help of an old friend Pete, and the rest of the Old Pepys committee, we quickly began the necessary work to get started. 

Old Pepys 2nd Kit – sponsored by the Dog and Bell, Deptford

We became affiliated with the London FA and are striving to become a charter standard club in time for the 2021/2022 season start. We are entering the Southern Veterans league and our current home is former SE DONS home ground, ‘the jungle,’ in South East London. 

Our long-term vision is to not only run a veteran football club, but to become an outreach service for men battling mental health issues, in poverty and those coming from under-privileged backgrounds. We want to provide a sense of belonging, a community, for these men. A service we would like to be free at the point of contact for them. We are in talks with local mental health charities to forge working relationships that will enable us to work collaboratively to provide services such as; mental wellbeing football sessions, employability workshops and mental health drop-in services. 

So, how can you help us? Like I said before, feel free to follow our socials, as the club grows there will be fundraising opportunities, volunteering opportunities, and of course, to all you ‘oldies’ lace up ya boots opportunities too. You can find us on Twitter https://twitter.com/OldPepysVFC , Instagram https://www.instagram.com/oldpepys_vfc  and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/OldPepysVFC   and our website, oldpepysvfc.co.uk  

In addition to this, we welcome any offers of sponsorship to enable us to purchase our away kit, charity kit, training kit and equipment. We are so grateful and lucky to have our first sponsor on board for the home kit, please also follow them on socials, Blue Mountain London https://www.instagram.com/bluemountainlondon

 So, if you’re a business owner, or work for a generous company passionate about mental health, then please do contact us on our email address ben@oldpepysvfc.co.uk for more information on sponsorship packages. 

Last but certainly not least, even if you don’t feel our club is something you align with personally, but you are reading this and are struggling with your mental health, then please reach out. There is no shame in feeling hopeless. You are not alone. Men have historically been told to ‘man up’ and get on with it, but let’s end that stigma. Let’s stop perpetuating the myth that men can only be tough and strong. If you need support we are only a message away, alternatively you can contact;

The Samaritans on 116 123

SANEline 0300 304 7000

CALM (Campaign against living miserably) 0800 58 58 58

I think I can speak for myself and my team when I say, we look forward to welcoming you into our community. 

Take care, stay safe. 

Benjamin Roy 

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