FOLLOWING the lockdown across the country in March, QPR launched the ‘R You ok?’ initiative.
Designed to encourage supporters to be open about their emotions at this unprecedented time, it gives people who feel vulnerable, isolated, or just not themselves, a point of contact to discuss their feelings.
Janet Barr has been the club’s Safeguarding Officer for more than four years and has been leading the ‘R You OK?’ campaign for the past two months, dealing with a variety of issues.
With the assistance of QPR Trust’s Safeguarding Officer Claire Priddle, more than 600 calls have been made or taken, and Janet explained: “We introduced this initiative as we recognised that many of our fans and people in the communities we serve would be in need of support.
“The challenges being faced are mainly around getting food provisions and dealing with loneliness, or feeling anxious about what is happening.
“With the knowledge and contacts we have, we can signpost people in the right direction depending on what their requirements are – and these can vary greatly.
"We are also being assisted with this by additional Trust staff as well as academy staff and it has been great that departments from across the club have been able to pull together in this way."
As the population – and world – deals with this unprecedented situation, Janet has clear advice for everyone.
“The importance of talking to someone if you feel down cannot be emphasised enough,” she said. “Don’t keep those feelings to yourself.
“Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week which saw this message reinforced strongly. Talking to someone means you may be able to get the correct help, or find others who feel the same way which can give you the support you need.”
Janet also stresses that people shouldn’t be too hard on themselves when they are finding life difficult.
“Don’t feel bad if you have a day when you don’t feel so great,” she said. “This is normal and that’s the time when you might want to chat to others to share how you feel.
“The ‘R You OK?’ initiative is about just that - we are happy to talk on days when you may not feel so great.
“Sometimes it’s easier to share those thoughts with someone outside of family, friends or colleagues.
“And I would like to add that nothing is to too small for us to help with – we are here for you if you need us.”
R you ok?
If you need our support, please contact us in the following ways, leaving your name and contact number:
Email: [email protected]
Call: 07483 006924
Alternatively, you can contact Childline:
Call: 0800 1111