Former City stars Paul Lake and Jeff Whitley were in attendance as Imagine Your Goals was officially launched on Friday at the Active Lifestyle Centre in Hulme. The scheme has been organised by City in the Community (CITC).
The project is aimed at people who have suffered mental health problems by giving those who take part the confidence - through activities related to the game - to get back to work, start training programmes or take the first steps to seeking help.
A six-a-side tournament was held to kick the scheme off with both Lake and Whitley, who suffered mental health problems after retiring from the game, in attendance.
After making more than 130 appearances for the Blues, former skipper Lake was forced to retire due to a serious knee-injury. He is now an ambassador for CITC and said: “Coming to terms with my new life immediately after retiring with no job and my confidence shot to pieces and all of my dreams shattered, was unbearable.
“I struggled to move forward, but, with the help of a councillor, prescribed Anti-depressants, the help of friends and family, and time - I got myself back from the brink.”
Whitley, part of the 1999 play-off final team, had problems with substance and alcohol abuse after football, but has since overcome these personal problems through the aid of the Sporting Chance clinic and is now an inspirational figure for many youngsters in the game.
Imagine Your Goals is a two-year programme funded by the Premier League and Sport Relief and is part of the national Time to Change campaign which aims to end discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.