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Featherstone Rovers Foundation to launch new project  ‘Offload’ in partnership with RL Cares to tackle men’s mental fitness and wellbeing.

Funding secured through the Coalfields Regeneration Fund to deliver ‘Offload’ will help to challenge how the sporting world tackles issues such as depression and anxiety, and is already receiving widespread acclaim for its work in the North West. Featherstone Rovers Foundation will now work in partnership with Rugby League Cares to deliver the project in Featherstone, West Yorkshire.

Men are invited to come behind the scenes of their home team and find out how players, coaches and referees stay mentally strong as well as physically fit. Offload is open to all men aged 16 and over. Men will meet and talk with current and former professional players to learn techniques that Rugby League clubs use to manage the mental and physical fitness of players.

Mental illness, often through depression, is the leading cause of disability in the UK and costs the economy over £70 billion per year. Almost one in 10 men will suffer from depression at some point in their lives.

In 2019, 6,233 people in the UK took their own lives: the national suicide rate was 11.0 deaths per 100,000 people, this is significantly higher following several years of decline in previous years. Nationally 75% of all suicides were male which is a staggering 86% in the Wakefield District.

Rugby League clubs operate within the heart of their local communities, many of which show statistically higher than average levels of mental illness, especially in men. Offload was born from the recognition that the game, working through the clubs, is the perfect vehicle to deliver help to some people who need it most.

Head of Community Development at the Rovers Foundation, Amy Hardman is looking forward to starting the project ‘We are really looking forward to getting this project off the ground in Featherstone. After what has been such a tough year for everyone it will be fantastic to deliver something so positive. We hope the amazing work that is being done across the sport of Rugby League as a whole will provide much needed support and coping mechanisms in our communities to tackle mental health.’

RL Cares Head of Community Emma Goldsmith said: 'We are thrilled to be able to deliver Offload fixtures at Featherstone and are looking forward to making the same positive difference to the lives of Rovers fans as we have seen at Salford, St Helens, Widnes and Warrington. Offload has a fantastic ability to not just change lives, but to save lives as well. I’m sure all the men who sign up to Offload will enjoy taking part.

We know that lots of men in Rugby League communities are struggling in these very challenging times and Offload can help equip them with the techniques and skills needed to develop and maintain good mental wellbeing.'

Over the course of the 10-week ‘season of fixtures’, men build their own mental fitness, whilst having fun, in a relaxed atmosphere and develop coping strategies to challenge difficult situations and learn how to recognise when people close to them may need their support.

After the 10 fixtures, each club Foundation invites men to be a full member of the Foundation squad; offering men a whole range of options from physical activity sessions, to heritage work and volunteering opportunities.


The weekly sessions start on Wednesday 18th November 2020 at 6:15pm in the Premier Suite at the Millenium Stadium, WF7 5EN. There are limited places due to the restrictions of running this kind of activity during lockdown, to register please TEXT 07884451223 or ONLINE – BOOK HERE

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