HUNTER Valley Group 21, in conjunction with Country Rugby League, will continue its support of Where There’s A Will in 2018, with all junior and senior clubs to raise awareness of the charity through the use of specially-designed and branded footballs in all matches during the season.
Having raised more than $100,000 for the foundation during last year’s Where There’s A Will Round, Group 21 will build on that exposure by providing a visual reminder at every training session and game throughout 2018 of the need to help deliver on the organisation’s goals.
Where There’s A Will Group 21 Rugby League liaison Mick Reynolds hopes the footballs will serve as a reminder to learn more about mental health and its prevention in the Upper Hunter communities.
“Rugby league is part of the fabric of the Upper Hunter community and it’s been quite remarkable to see how our clubs and players have united behind this cause,” he said.
“We had a great response to the Where There’s A Will Round last season.
“But, if we’re going to effect change and increase our knowledge and awareness of mental health issues and how to prevent them, we need to be talking about it more than once a year.
“Hopefully, these footballs will serve as a reminder each weekend that we still have work to do and that we should all look out for each other regardless of which team we play for or represent.”
Having worked with Group 21 to design the footballs and endorsing their use throughout the season, Country Rugby League will continue to partner with Where There’s A Will in 2018.
“Rugby League plays an important role in many communities across regional NSW and to see Group 21 and their clubs unite to promote and support a local charity like Where There’s A Will is a true testament to their character,” CRL operations manager Bert Lowrie said.
“We (CRL) are extremely proud to continue to partner with Where There’s A Will and will continue to support their organisation and Group 21 in promoting their cause.”
Where There’s A Will is an Upper Hunter-based charity mobilising the community in important conversations about mental health in a way that hasn’t been done before and they are thrilled with the support of Country Rugby League.
“The most effective way to make change happen is when the community drives it and that’s exactly what we’re seeing here with Group 21 and Country Rugby League,” Where There’s A Will co-founder Pauline Carrigan said.
“The footies look fantastic and we are grateful for the support of everyone involved for making this great initiative happen.”
While prevention through education in schools is the primary focus of Where There’s A Will, they also support and fund the local community through the introduction of education services and programs that assist with reducing stigma, improving awareness and increasing the number of those with mental health first aid qualifications in the Upper Hunter.
The money raised through Group 21 Rugby League’s Where There’s A Will Round has helped fund the training of more than 400 teachers in 16 schools across the Upper Hunter in Visible Wellbeing – a program that embeds wellbeing initiatives in every class, project and activity that students participate in.