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Place 2 Place

1813. Peter Hill

Peter Hill, from Wigan, is a men’s mental health campaigner who leads ‘Place 2 Place’, a football club which uses the sport to help men open up conversations about their wellbeing and signpost to support services, particularly around suicide prevention.

Peter Hill

Peter first set up the group in 2017 after his own mental health challenges and the loss of a best friend to suicide, which was followed closely by two others also to suicide. Peter wanted to break stigma around discussing mental health, embarking on a charity cycle ride to Paris. After this challenge, he wanted to continue opening up conversations, realising that a football club could also serve as a support network. Starting life as a five-a-side team, the ‘Place 2 Place’ club has since grown into a wider division of more than 10 teams meeting and playing every week in Wigan, with an additional team now running in Lichfield, and a further club for women planned for 2022.

In a personal letter to Peter, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“I was inspired to learn of ‘Place 2 Place’ and how you are tackling the stigma often associated with mental health. You know from your own experience how vital it is to open up honest and supportive conversations; it is a wonderful tribute to your best friend who sadly lost his life.

“With your supportive network of people meeting each week to play football, you have helped hundreds of people improve their physical and mental wellbeing.”

Peter said:

“Thank you Prime Minster, it is an honour to be recognised as a recipient of a Points of light award. Upon receiving this award as Lead and founder of ‘Place 2 Place’, I would like to take it as an opportunity to thank all of our volunteers for the tireless work they have done during the last two years, we simply couldn’t do it without them. Inspired by a speech of the former US president, Barack Obama, we challenged people in the club to be the change they seek. They delivered.

“Through the Pandemic when things needed to go online, Chris W was there with his zoom quizzes and catch-ups. When we needed help coping with lockdown, Jack L was there with his virtual cycle around the Euro 2020 stadiums. This eventually saw us complete over 9,000 personal exercise miles as a group, and evolved to include people’s daily walks, cycles and even kayaks, keeping people connected.

“On return to our physical sessions, our volunteers took great personal risks, to make sure these sessions continued safely. Dan, Alan, Liam, and Chris S, all stepped up from sanitising footballs and implementing one-way systems to circulating the up-to-date guidance and advice at each turn. Kenny and Shaun of Winstanley Warriors developed the foot-golf pitch, which not only allowed us to meet in pairs during the tightest restrictions, but raise just under £1,000 for a local family facing the worst of situations. We delivered food parcels across the borough throughout the year, Christmas turkeys and essentials at Christmas, Dennis’s pizzas were even given out to folk met in the street. As we approach Christmas again, the toy drive has begun. We were, we are united in our response, you stepped up and your work saved more than one life this year – I’m sure it will again next year. We have in the last few months set-up in Lichfield, Tamworth a second site following one of our former Wigan players in a recent move, Robbie and Rhys are now doing a great job leading the team down there as we look to recreate the successes we’ve had in Wigan.

“Finally, Prime Minster, I would just like to take this chance to thank my family and children. Jack, Alfie, I love you kids. and I am proud of you everyday, you can do anything you set your mind to, if there’s one lesson I want you to take from this in the future, it’s to reach out for help when you need it. That’s what I did after my best friend’s passing and now we have this fantastic club. Today I have the privilege of thanking the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom for a Points of Light award… it’s amazing how far a little hope goes.”

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The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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