Leeds Rhinos Foundation launch Offload mental fitness programme

Leeds Rhinos Foundation is delighted to announce that it will be delivering the Rugby League Cares mental fitness programme Offload, thanks to funding from the Leeds Community Foundation.

Offload is Rugby League Cares’s acclaimed men’s mental fitness programme that utilises the experiences of professional Rugby League players in coping with pressure and challenging situations to help men manage their own mental health.

Offload has already helped more than 2,000 men tackle issues around mental wellbeing since its launch in the North West three years ago.

The programme has been given backing from Leeds Rhinos hooker Brad Dwyer, who has spoken about his own mental health issues and how opening up and speaking to others helped him to deal with them.  Now the Rhinos star has pledged to help people going through their own battles by pledging to support the Offload programme.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Dwyer said: “I think it’s so easy to underestimate the power of opening up. I never thought it would help me, but it 100% changed my life for the better.”

Leeds Rhinos Foundation will be running Offload fixtures in two ‘squad’ sessions at Emerald Headingley Stadium on Thursday evenings from November 26, with five places available at each session.

Each 45-minute fixture will be hosted at the TryZone in the North West corner of Emerald Headingley Stadium from 6.30pm to 7.15pm and 7.45pm to 8.30pm.

Leeds Rhinos Foundation Community Development Officer Sam Horner said: “We at Leeds Rhinos Foundation are very pleased to be delivering Offload and we will be running many sessions throughout the city of Leeds over the next few months.

“There will be lots of opportunities to be involved in this brilliant programme, which will help people manage their mental fitness and the general pressures of life. We are grateful to have the support of Brad Dwyer, who is keen to work with us to help the project be a success.  We will also welcome more guest speakers, including Rhinos legend Keith Senior, who will share some of his life experiences with the group.”

Offload fixtures are available for open-aged men (16+) and are free to attend: the programme runs for 10 weeks blocks normally with different presenters each week speaking about a range of issues. This programme will run for 4 weeks up to Christmas and the normal 10 week blocks will start in the new year for different participants.

Squad members can participate as often or as little as they feel comfortable with.  The fixtures are delivered in a ‘no-pressure’ situation and all information shared at fixtures is treated in strictest confidence within each squad.

RL Cares Head of Community Emma Goldsmith said: “We are thrilled to be able to deliver Offload fixtures at Leeds Rhinos and are looking forward to making the same positive difference to the lives of Rhinos 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 at Leeds will really 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.”

To sign up for Offload at Leeds Rhinos, or for more information, please contact our Community Development Officer Sam Horner on 07780 676132 or email Sam.horner@leedsrhinosfoundation.org