A FOOTBALL festival in Hereford next month will celebrate the Armed Forces and help raise awareness of mental health issues.

The HFA Armed Forces Mental Health Awareness event will take place at Victoria Park on Sunday, July 7.

The day will consist of a cadet's 5-a-side tournament in the morning, followed by a women’s 11-a-side match and finishing with a men’s 11-a-side match.

There will be organisations and charities promoting mental health and offering support, plus events for people to take part in and an army chef producing hot food.

The day has been organised through Herefordshire Football Association (HFA) and the Civilian Military Task Group (CMTG).

CMTG consist of the Herefordshire Veteran Support Group, Veteran Rehab Centre (HR4K), Defence Medical Welfare Service, 2gether Trust, Combat Stress and Help for Heroes.

Victoria Park is the home of United in the Community (UITC) who have offered their facilities for free.

The day is also supported by Hereford Untied Supporter's Trust (HUST), Herefordshire FA Youth Council, Herefordshire Mind and Hereford Hospital Radio.

HFA’s Football Development Officer Scott Russell said: “Football is a great way to engage with people and making it a perfect platform to bring people together.

"I’m proud to be a Herefordian and I’m proud to celebrate our Armed Forces and show appreciation to everyone who is or has served.

"But it’s not just those serving and/or veterans that can suffer, people like you and me, the general public can also suffer from mental health. It’s my wish to bring everyone together and promote all the good work that currently goes on in Herefordshire.

"It’s important as one in four suffer from mental health."

Outgoing HFA CEO Jonny Walker backed the festival plan.

He added: “We feel this could be a significant event in Herefordshire that engages people who suffer with mental health.

"We hope to see a good turn out and celebrate the Armed Forces, and we look forward to the general public enjoying the activates that will be on show, gain a better understanding of mental health and give pathways to those who are needing support.”