Train To Be Smart
1038. Pat McGibbon
Pat McGibbon, from County Armagh, is a former Northern Ireland international footballer who has developed a football coaching centre for young people which increases their mental health resilience whilst also improving their sports skills.
Pat was inspired to establish the ‘Train To Be Smart’ charitable centre in memory of his brother Phillip, who took his own life eight months after Pat moved to Old Trafford to play for Manchester United in 1993. Starting with just 26 young people in 2013, the charity has since grown to support 200 living in deprived areas in Northern Ireland, using sport to promote positive mental health and wellbeing. Receiving support from leading figures from football, including Sir Alex Ferguson and former Irish international player Roy Keane, the centre is open to children of all ages, abilities and needs.
In a personal letter to Pat, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“You have shown remarkable courage and strength in responding to the personal tragedy of losing your brother Phillip by speaking out publicly on the importance of mental health. You should feel enormously proud of how your football coaching programmes are helping hundreds of young people in Northern Ireland to improve their mental wellbeing.”
“I’m privileged to receive this volunteering award. I see first-hand each day the valuable efforts of our own volunteers at ‘Train 2B SMART’ and in the area of promoting positive mental health, volunteers play a hugely valuable role in giving back to local and wider community.”01
Pictured above: Pat (right), with his father (centre) and charity supporter, Roy Keane (left)