In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, former players and Restart trustees Ed Jackson, Ugo Monye and James Haskell have launched a fundraising initiative and mental health campaign called #RugbyFamily to make sure that no player struggling emotionally is left feeling unsupported during these unprecedented times.
Hear from Ed, Ugo and James as they express the immediate need for professional players to help fund Restart's Confidential Counselling Service for those players who are facing mental health issues.
Watch campaign video here:
We asked Ed Jackson about the campaign and why it’s so important – especially now – that the rugby family comes together for those struggling in our community.
What is the #RugbyFamily campaign?
“This campaign is an emergency appeal and message to the players, to make sure the #RugbyFamily is there for each other during these uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As former players on the board of trustees at Restart, Ugo Monye, James Haskell and I wanted to get the players involved in collectively supporting each other and the more vulnerable players amongst us.
“The issue of mental health in sport is real and much bigger than I ever realised. And especially at times like this with the lack of routine, feeling of isolation and not knowing when you’ll next run out on the pitch again, it is more important than ever to have access to emotional support should you need it.
“We’re asking the players to make sure that the Confidential Counselling Service that Restart provides for players continues to be funded by donating just £20.”
“All UK charities are all struggling at the moment with a huge number of events cancelled or rescheduled. Restart has been affected by this with a significant loss of expected income over the past few weeks due to events such as Restart Weekend and the RPA Awards being postponed however the vital work and demands on the services the charity provides continues.
“The player referrals to our Confidential Counselling Service, that costs up to £60,000 every season, is expected to increase over the coming months but the charity relies entirely on donations and fundraising activities to fund the mental health support. Once the reality hit that in a few months down the line, Restart might not be able to fund one of our most important services to players, the three of us knew that we had to get the players involved to help cover the cost of the 24/7 telephone helpline and counselling service during this time when access to mental health support is a priority.”
What do you want to achieve from the #RugbyFamily campaign?
“We want to make sure that any player struggling with their mental health can receive the help they need and also know where to go to get that help from.
“The sense of community over the past few weeks has been incredible and this is a time when the #RugbyFamily can come together and show how much of a positive impact we can have if we share a goal to make a difference to the lives of those that are struggling.
“With a one-off donation of £20, the players themselves could raise enough money to cover the cost of the Confidential Counselling Service for the next three months.”
HOW CAN THE #RUGBYFAMILY GET INVOLVED?
Stay connected with each other by reaching out to friends, family and your team mates
Text ‘RugbyFamily’ to 70085 to donate £20 to Restart and every penny will go towards funding our Confidential Counselling Service
Share our video or your own video message on your social media channels to get the message far and wide to show that the #RugbyFamily is coming together and supporting each other. Remember to tag us @restartrugby