The President of the Rugby Football League, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, has revealed that the work of Rugby League Cares has inspired him to put in place a mental fitness and health programme for MPs and staff working in Westminster.
In a fascinating interview on the BBC 5 Live rugby league podcast, Sir Lindsay, the Speaker of the House of Commons, talks about the work of RL Cares and the role the charity plays in safeguarding the mental wellbeing of the sport’s players.
Speaking to BBC rugby league correspondent Dave Woods, Sir Lindsay, the MP for Chorley and a lifelong Warrington fan, outlines why he is so passionate about the sport and its communities.
“Rugby league is a family, a family which cares about itself and that’s the way it should be,” said Sir Lindsay.
“It’s about the health and wellbeing of people involved in the game. The players are tough, hard people but mental health affects every level of society and I’ve got to say that Rugby League (Cares) recognised that early.
“They have put support in place and they’ve been there to help players who’ve needed it.
“There’s a lot of pressure put on people playing the game, both professionally and at amateur level, and I’ve got to say that’s why rugby league is good.
“It’s the coming together of the family, the setting up of the charity (RL Cares), having a support network in there and training people who can look for the signs of mental health and having a champion within each club as well.
“We have the same (issues) in Parliament with mental health and that’s why I have beefed up and put together a health and wellbeing package, not only with (physical) illness but with mental health.
“Politicians don’t want to talk about mental health, they don’t ask for help and support, and it’s the same with staff as well.
“I had seen what rugby league had done, I’d seen Rugby League Cares and I wanted to make sure Parliament cares in the same way for the people who work in this village.”
To listen to the full BBC 5 Live podcast, click here