Introducing your BBFA Mental Health Ambassadors

Volunteers from across our clubs and community keeping the conversation going.

Introducing YOUR BBFA Mental Health Ambassadors
Volunteers keeping the conversation going.

We at Berks & Bucks FA know the importance of physical activity and the role football can play in the mental health of our communities. Building on our Award-Winning Partnership with Sport in Mind we wanted to engage our participants in the conversation and so have established a team of Mental Health Ambassadors, based across the county area, headed up by our internal lead Hans Cook.

They’ve come together and are now ready to introduce themselves to you all, along with their ‘WHY’ in taking on the ambassador role:

1. Michael Gegg (Windsor & Maidenhead): I am the comms lead at Windsor & Eton FC and have been involved in non-league football (at the original WEFC, Windsor FC and the new WEFC) for over 30 years. I’m delighted to be a mental health ambassador. Like many, I have experienced my own mental health challenges and sadly have lost friends who thought there was no way out – there is. That’s why I’m passionate about supporting others and encouraging them to be open about how they are feeling.

2. Matt Norman (South Oxfordshire): One of the biggest benefits that football and sport bring are the mental health and wellbeing impacts, but these are often the least spoken about. I aim to use my position within youth football to promote these areas to ensure both players and parents have the opportunity to remove the stigma in this area.

3. Kate Davidson (Milton Keynes): I am proud to work for a national football charity and volunteer as a team manager within a local grassroots football club in Milton Keynes. Through both roles I try to be as supportive as I can be to others. I’ve received training to help me support people struggling with mental health, such as anxiety, or depression. I’m particularly passionate about supporting the wellbeing of women of all ages. My ethos is to use football as a way to connect people with others and build a sense of belonging and togetherness. As the coach of a women’s recreational team, I try to spot the signs in my players, and I’ll be there if anyone needs to talk. I’m keen to use my roles in football to raise awareness of mental health challenges associated with menopause and neurodiversity.

4. Hemi Mistry (Bracknell Forest): Alongside my accountancy business, I am a qualified counsellor and through that work I am involved in helping people to deal with a range of mental health challenges. Also, I have had a variety of roles within football clubs in my area stretching back over 20 years and I am currently Chair and Welfare Officer of Bracknell Bisons. Taking part in sport can add so much to our mental wellbeing and I am interested in ensuring that everyone involved gets the most out of the experience, not just through playing, but the support the FA can offer.

5. Jo Gavin (Windsor & Maidenhead): I am the General Manager at Ascot United, and my son played for the club’s U10-U16s and is now part of the clubs camp coaching team. I took an interest in the Mental Health side of things as I felt I didn’t fully understand the overall concept, through my role as part of the Safeguarding team the phrase is used often, and I felt I needed more knowledge to be able to support people.

6. Eleanor Upton (Milton Keynes): I have been Welfare Officer at MK United for about three years. My sons and I both play for the club and my husband is a coach. As a parent, teacher and welfare officer I know how important mental health is and how participating in sport can have a massive impact on it.

7. Yohan Augustine (Buckinghamshire): I’m currently co-wellbeing lead for the BBFA Youth Network and also sit on the BBFA Board as a Youth Observer. My background is in psychology and research so this is an area that speaks directly to this role. I’m very excited to see what we can bring to the community as Mental Health Ambassadors.

8. Jackie Lynn (South Oxfordshire): I’ve been involved in youth football for over a decade, having seen my now adult children play since 2007 and being Didcot Casuals FC’s Welfare Officer for 12 years. I’m proud and excited to take on the role of Mental Health Ambassador, having seen first-hand the importance of creating environments that are conducive to positive mental wellbeing and the long-term impact this has on our children. In my spare time, I enjoy walking my dogs, cycling, Pilates and rescuing ex battery hens.

9. Gifford Manyange (Slough): I’ve been a BBFA Match Official for 13 years and been involved in youth football, but currently focused on adult football and based in Slough. I am excited and looking forward to being a part of opening up the conversation on mental health within football, as believe it plays a huge part and is relatable to every individual involved, but personally find it is rarely discussed. I am privileged to have the opportunity to learn more about positive mental health awareness, encourage and hopefully grow collectively, amongst all in the sport.

10. Nicola Evans (Reading): I am a BBFA Mental Health Ambassador because I am passionate about protecting the mental health of our young people. I believe if we remove the stigma and provide support for our young people, we can set them on a path of better mental health. As football clubs we are in a fortunate position where we already provide safe communities for our players to socialise and look after their physical health whilst doing something they really enjoy. Why not include protecting their mental health in this? It feels like a no brainer to me.

11. Tony Crutchley (South Oxfordshire): I’m the Welfare Officer for Didcot Town Youth FC and am also the manager of an U12 side. I have 4 children and my youngest is 2 years old and can’t wait to start kicking a ball around the pitch. I wanted to be involved with this project as it’s a fantastic way for us as a club to support our youth and provide them with the support they may need. It’s important for people to be able to reach out and have confidence that they can speak to impartial people.

As a group, we are keen to ‘Keep the Conversation Going’ and try support all participants in the game within our county. If you want to sign up, or are keen to learn more then please reach out to Hans at

On the topic of Mental Health, a reminder that on Monday 11th March, we are hosting ‘Beyond the 90 Minutes’ a Football X Mental Health Panel at Adams Park, and it is free to attend and be part of the conversation.