Derby County's 'Winning Mentality Initiative' has been shortlisted for a BBC Power of Sport award at the East Midlands Sports Awards 2009 to be held in December at Loughborough University.

Created in September 2004, the initiative has lead to the birth of Derwent Valley Rovers FC, a club designed to engage mentally ill participants that have previously been unable to access a high quality structured provision on a regular basis.

The county-wide programme, which forms part of the 'Every Player Counts' national initiative, is proving a huge success in demonstrating that football can be used as a tool to help those suffering from mental health issues to overcome their problems by improving both their mental and physical health.

"The nomination for the BBC Power of Sport award is testament to the hard work that has been undertaken by Derby County in the Community within the Derwent Valley Rovers set up and further afield," said Pete Collins, Derby County's Disability Football Development Officer.

"The successful application to the Football League Trust for extra funding as part of Every Player Counts only highlights the growing potential that the Winning Mentality Initiative has to offer in the county of Derbyshire."

The award, supported by Sport England, recognises a sustainable sports project or initiative that makes a tangible impact on local communities. The judges will assess how effectively the entries have addressed the needs of young people and under-represented groups in sport.

Based over two sites - the Powerleague Soccerdome in Derby and Queens Park Leisure Centre in Chesterfield - the project has ensured that players take part over a sustained period of time which has proven to improve their mental and physical health.

In addition, the programme is providing players the opportunity to follow pathways that lead to mainstream opportunities and the impact of the initiative is having wide-reaching results beyond the Derbyshire area.

"Derby County's work with Derwent Valley Rovers was a major factor in The Football League Trust securing £2.59 million in funding from The New Football Pools for Every Player Counts," said Mike Evans, Regional Community Manager for the Football League Trust.

"Simon Carnall, Manager of Derby County in the Community, gave a passionate presentation to the Funding Board about what a difference this funding could make to the project at Derby County, and nationally.

"The Board were simply blown away, and it has given me great pleasure to witness the delivery of Pete Collins and his team on the Winning Mentality Initiative."

In its seventh year, the awards will be hosted by John Inverdale with the highlights being shown on BBC East Midlands today. The Winning Mentality Initiative is going head-to-head with CKI Karate Club from Leicester and Nottingham Unity Football Project for the award which will be judged on December 3.

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