RUN Free are using the power of sport to help tackle mental health issues.

The group – who were formed in 2020 – hold fortnightly training sessions which are open to anyone suffering from depression or anxiety.

And co-founder Eddy Cooper has been left overwhelmed by the success of the project which also includes a podcast.

“So much has already happened with Run Free but we’re still keen to do more and help as many people as possible,” said Cooper.

“We’ve got a group which trains every other Friday and it’s become a big support mechanism for everyone involved and has been fantastic.

“We’ve had the likes of Kelly Holmes and Colin Jackson on our podcast, we’ve hosted our own five-a-side football tournament, cricket matches and established very strong links with our local clubs and also SECE Mind.

“With it being Mental Health Awareness week we wanted to just let people know that we’re here and new members are always welcome.

“It’s also completely free to come along and train.”

The coaching sessions take place at Garon Park but Run Free’s involvement does not end there.

“We were really involved with the ‘Match for Mind’ at Southend United back in January and raised £6,000 in the end,” said Eddy.

“Five members of Run Free walked from Chelmsford to Roots Hall that day with the matchball to raise funds and awareness which is what we’re all about.

“Chris Phillips, who I co-founded Run Free with, is also a trustee for SECE Mind so we have a great link with them “We’re also playing in the warm up ahead of the match in memory of Chris Barker at Roots Hall later this month and that will be another big day for us and what we’re trying to achieve.

“It’s important people don’t suffer in silence and getting out for a chat and a bit of exercise can help massively.

“The football side of things is all about fun as well so nobody needs to worry about how good they are at playing before coming along.”

But, right now, Run Free are preparing for another five-a-side tournament which they will be hosting at Garon Park on Saturday June 11.

“It’s a five-a-side tournament costing £50 per team,” said Eddy.

“Proceeds will be split between SECE Mind and Run Free to ensure we can continue to hold the training sessions free of charge.

“Anyone wishing to take part can contact us via their favoured form of social media.

“Last year’s event was a huge success and we’re hoping for more of the same this year too.

Run Free also holding weekly walking sessions every Monday morning at 7am.

For more details search @RunFreeOfficial on Twitter.