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PCA member Chris Paget sets up mental health charity.
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The Professional Cricketers’ Trust has partnered with former professional cricketer and sports & entertainment lawyer, Chris Paget, who has set up a new mental health charity, Milestone.
Launched in April, Milestone uses sport to raise awareness of (and normalise) the conversation around mental health, removing the stigmas that still exist in today’s society and giving people the power and confidence to ask for help and overcome any setbacks they might be facing.
Paget was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few years ago and has struggled with his mental health as a result. In response to this, he set up Milestone, which seeks to utilise and re-create the familiar and positive aspects of a sports ‘dressing room’ culture – communication, openness, honesty, bravery, accountability and support – in its quest to normalise the conversation around mental health and overcome ‘the stiff upper lip’.
By bringing people together through their love of sport, and through the variety of social media content, events and initiatives, Milestone will create a safe space for people to engage with their mental health without fear of judgement.
"The Trust has always been an amazing support network. It is there for all players no matter what their situation."
Milestone will raise funds for the Trust, CALM and The MS Trust and Co-Founder of the new initiative, Paget, said: “Cricket gave me so much happiness and an amazing set of friends and experiences. While I achieved very little as a professional, it taught me a lot.
“Cricket challenges you mentally and you learn coping mechanisms to deal with these challenges. These coping mechanisms are highly effective in elite sport (and arguably business) but not necessarily that effective in your personal and private life. While harnessing the ‘power of the changing room’ to create support networks in day-to-day life, I hope that Milestone will raise awareness of the benefits of embracing a different mindset where accepting vulnerability and seeking support are to be encouraged.”
“The players’ charity is growing year on year and it is extremely powerful to see more past and current players supporting their own.”
Professional Cricketers’ Trust Director, Ian Thomas, said:
“The Professional Cricketers’ Trust is extremely grateful to Chris for thinking of the Trust in the charities associated with his challenge.
“The players’ charity is growing year on year and it is extremely powerful to see more past and current players supporting their own. In what is due to be a difficult year for fundraising, members raising funds for their own charity has never been more important. We wish Chris the very best in the challenge and will work with him to support the challenges ahead.”
On partnering with the Trust, Paget went on to say: “The Trust has always been an amazing support network. It is there for all players no matter what their situation. I am so grateful for the support I have received from them and the wider PCA team, and I am really excited that Milestone is able to now give some something back by fundraising for the Trust.
“We have some pretty big plans from an events perspective, including an 18-day endurance challenge next year taking in all 18 county cricket grounds. The hope is to get as many people as possible to join us for a leg to raise awareness and to fundraise in the name of normalising the conversation around mental health.”
The partnership launch coincides with the #GivingTuesdayNow campaign, a global day of unity and generosity taking place on Tuesday 5 May in response to the urgent COVID-19 pandemic. The Trust is supporting the event to raise awareness of the players’ charity and to raise funds.
Paget who played for Derbyshire between 2004 and 2008, was at the time of his debut, the youngest ever player to line up for the Derbyshire team in the Championship, at 16 years and 282 days. He is now a partner in the Sports Team at Sheridans.
Find out more about Milestone and how to become part of the team by visiting their website and following them on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. It will also be launching its Team Talk podcast in the next few weeks where Chris speaks with a variety of people from across the sports and entertainment industries about their stories and experiences of dealing with their own mental health and wellbeing.