Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) has announced that Wigan’s DW Stadium will now play host to the Movember Mental Fitness Match Day on Saturday 5th November.
The Movember Mental Fitness Match forms part of a wider partnership between Rugby League World Cup 2021, Rugby League Cares, and the leading men’s health charity, who are teaming up to deliver a ground-breaking mental fitness charter, making RLWC2021 the first ever global sporting event to do so. The charter’s aim is to educate every player, team official, match official, teammate and volunteer to look after their own mental fitness and that of those around them.
The Movember Mental Fitness Match is scheduled to be a double header, which could potentially feature the England men’s team in a quarter-final, as well as the scheduled England women’s team fixture against Canada women.
The importance of the match being held at DW stadium has not been lost on Wigan Council, who this month are holding the Wigan Wellfest initiative, a series of on and offline events designed to help people in Wigan be happier, healthier individuals.
Rugby League runs through the heart of Wigan! 🏉
Will you be joining us in the stands at the @DWStadium 🏟 to mark the @MovemberUK Mental Fitness Matchday and share the same pride and passion as RLWC2021 Ambassadors, @RHunterPaul and @hardcastle03? 🗣#RLWC2021 | @RLCares pic.twitter.com/hU9TiphWtN
— Rugby League World Cup 2021 (@RLWC2021) January 27, 2022
The leader of Wigan Council, Cllr David Molyneux, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming the tournament to the borough later this year and it’s fantastic news we’ll be hosting this very special match. It’s a brilliant opportunity to shine a light on how important it is to look after your own mental resilience and to support those around you. This is such a key priority for us in terms of looking after the health and wellbeing of our residents and it’s great to see the work of the partnership reflecting this.”
In addition to the Movember Mental Fitness Match Day on Saturday 5th November, the mental fitness charter will also see Rugby League Cares deliver Movember’s Ahead of the Game initiative, both in Wigan and across England.
The programme, which aims to equip teenagers with skills and tools to manage their mental fitness, kicked off in October 2020 will be delivered in Rugby League towns and cities to over 10,000 young athletes and parents combined, as well over 500 coaches of the community game. One in five adolescents may experience mental health problems in any given year – that’s three players on every Rugby League team.
It’s estimated that around 1,600 young athletes, parents and coaches in Wigan will be offered the Ahead of the Game training.
The ‘Ahead of the Game’ programme is being delivered by current and former Rugby League stars using their own experiences and struggles with mental fitness to educate future stars of the game, including England and Great Britain legend Keith Senior, St Helens treble winner and England women’s international Amy Hardcastle, double Challenge Cup winner Paul Wood, and RLWC2021 Mental Fitness Ambassador, Robbie Hunter-Paul, who holds a long affiliation of championing mental fitness within Rugby League
To make the announcement, RLWC2021 Mental Fitness Ambassador Robbie Hunter-Paul, Ahead of the Game facilitators Amy Hardcastle, Bob Beswick and Wayne Godwin, Wigan Warriors Executive Director Kris Radlinski and Councillor Jim Moodie, lead member for leisure and public health at Wigan Council, got together at the DW Stadium with three tournament trophies to talk about the initiative.
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, said: “We are really pleased to be able to announce that our ground-breaking Movember Mental Fitness Match Day will be hosted at Wigan’s DW Stadium.
“It has always been our objective to stage an inclusive and unique tournament, which will positively affect the lives of the communities involved. That means showcasing fantastic Rugby League, but also making positive social impact.
“Thankfully, now, more than ever, mental well-being is being prioritised for so many people and I am grateful to Movember and Rugby League Cares for their outstanding contribution in helping realise our ambitions. The double header at Wigan’s DW Stadium will shine a spotlight on the tournaments mental fitness charter and raise awareness of this important topic.
Emma Goldsmith, the Head of Community at Rugby League Cares, added: “The Mental Fitness Match will be a celebration of the fantastic activity that is taking place at clubs across the country over an 18-month period and throughout the tournament itself.
“The way in which clubs and young people across Rugby League communities are engaging with our mental fitness programmes is inspiring and the Mental Fitness Match will recognise that.”
Tracy Herd, Director of Global Programme Implementation for Movember, said: “We are delighted to be working with RLWC2021 and Rugby League Cares to deliver sport-based mental fitness training to communities where the impact of poor mental health, particularly for men, can be devastating.
“Research shows that half of mental health conditions start by the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 24. By intervening early and teaching boys the skills to be able to cope with life’s setbacks and build their resilience, it will prevent minor issues from becoming bigger problems later in life.”
Clubs across the country are encouraged to book their Ahead of the Game workshops ahead of the new season starting. For more information, please visit http://www.aheadofthegame.uk
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