Offload is coming to St Helens with Rugby League Cares and Saints Community Development Foundation (SCDF).
The hugely successful men’s mental fitness programme run by the independent charity Rugby League Cares, will kick-off on Wednesday 4th March 2020, 5:45 start at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Offload is a health initiative designed by RL Cares with input from State of Mind and is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund in Warrington, Widnes and Salford. It helps men tackle issues such as depression and anxiety and to develop coping strategies to successfully manage the crises we all face in everyday life.
Staged over 10 weekly ‘fixtures’, Offload is presented by former Rugby League players and officials who share their experiences of dealing with pressure, health problems and challenging situations.
Offload fixtures at St Helens will also feature input from OK TO ASK, a campaign which aims to break down the stigma of talking about suicide.
St Helens has one of the highest suicide rates in the UK – 75 people in the borough have taken their own lives in the last three years – and OK TO ASK focuses on the life-saving conversations anyone could have with someone thinking of suicide.
Liam Parker, Health Projects Manager at RL Cares, said: “Offload has a proven track-record of both changing and saving lives and we are delighted to have opportunity to deliver our programme to the people of St Helens.
“Over 1,000 men across the North West have already attended Offload fixtures and we know from the feedback they have given us what a positive difference it makes to the quality of not only their lives, but the lives of their families and the people around them.
“Working in partnership with Saints Community Development Foundation, St Helens Borough Council and the OK TO ASK campaign will enable us to continue that good work and empower more men to be able to cope, and talk comfortably, about important health issues.”
Chris Chamberlain, Project and Finance Manager at Saints Foundation, said: “After extensive consultation and understanding the local needs from across St Helens, it became evident that Offload would be great to support people within St Helens.
“Saints Foundation has been working hard behind the scenes with partners at the Local Authority and Rugby League Cares to bring Offload to St Helens. This is an extremely positive project which has worked well in other local areas and we are pleased to bring Offload to St Helens”.
Offload has already acquired national recognition for the successful way it has engaged men in what is traditionally a taboo health subject since it was launched in 2017.
Since then, Offload has made a positive impact on the lives of the men who have attended fixtures run at Salford Red Devils, Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings.
A report found that men who have completed a set of Offload fixtures:
•Have a better understanding of how to look after their mental and physical fitness;
•Have more positive and effective strategies to cope in tough times;
•Are more resilient and more able to handle setbacks;
•Have a stronger and bigger support network;
•Have better relationships at home;
•Have increased aspirations about being in work and/or training;
•Have started volunteering more.
Offload fixtures at St Helens are aimed at men aged 16 and over, are free to attend and will take place at the Totally Wicked Stadium
For more information on Offload at St Helens, or to sign up to the programme, please contact Saints Community Development Foundation at OFFLOAD@SAINTSRLFC.COM.
For more information about Offload please visit www.rugbyleaguecares.org