Thu 27 Jan 2022 09:34

As COVID-19 heads into its third year, the club has been considering the impact on children and young people. Pandemic lockdowns and restrictions have disrupted routines, education and recreation, leaving many young people feeling anxious, angry, depressed and concerned for their future.  At Eccles RFC, we recognise this disruption and have a commitment to nurturing the whole child. We want our members to grow as people, as well as players, upholding the values of rugby union, building their self-esteem and lifelong friendships along the way.
Therefore, following preliminary conversations last year, the club is pleased to announce that 2022 will see the launch of a joint initiative between Eccles RFC, Soli and Try Talking to provide support and promote a better understanding of the mental health issues facing our younger members.
Soli, founded by Patrick Mather, are a local based organisation that offer pastoral support to young people and have specific expertise with children who have special eduction needs. Try Talking, founded by Shelley Maddocks, have been the club’s mental health partner since July 2019 and offer a person centred counselling service, providing support during life changing events, including injury that prevents pursuing a sport you love. 
The partnership will be working together to provide a programme of age group tailored workshops and team bonding sessions during 2022, the first of which will take place at the club on Sunday 13 February.  We’ll be sharing more details with team managers in the days ahead. Until then, here’s a few words of introduction from Dan, Patrick and Shelley.
Chris Gaffey, Chairman, Eccles RFC.
In line with our long-held principles of inclusivity and ‘Rugby for All’, the Eccles RFC Minis & Junior section are delighted to welcome a well-being partner in Soli. Our commitment to effective safeguarding and prioritising mental health for young people clearly resonates with Patrick and his vision for Soli. Following the pandemic, we’ve come to realise the real impact of our rugby family and the power of team belonging. I’m excited that Patrick and his team will provide vital insight, resources and education for all of our coaches and volunteers on those softer skills and wider rugby aspects of mental health and well-being in young people.
Dan Nicholls, M&J Chair, Eccles RFC.
Soli offers all-in-one pastoral support to young people, ensuring that they get the help they need, when they need it. Our experts have years of experience working with SEN/SEMH. We can assess young people when a potential additional need has been identified. Our work in sport allows us to support clubs to ensure that they have a strong focus on wellbeing. Not only do we support the young players on their books, but also the coaches who are working with them on a weekly basis. We are extremely excited to work with Eccles RFC and continue the excellent work that they already do to develop young people.
Patrick Mather, founder of Soli.
Try Talking is excited to welcome Patrick from Soli to further develop our delivery of mental health and wellbeing support to the Eccles RFC community. I am looking forward to the joint initiatives this year and working with Patrick to be able to offer support to the full age range of members and volunteers. It will be great to work with another organisation who share the Try Talking aim to breakdown the mental health stigma and ensure support is available within sporting environments.
Shelley Maddocks, Director and Counsellor, Try Talking.

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