Community 05.02.24

Sheffield Eagles launch Offload Programme

Sheffield Eagles has announced the launch of a new programme of mental fitness workshops designed to equip men in the city with the tools and techniques they need to become, and stay, healthy and happy.

‘Offload’, from Rugby League Cares (RL Cares), is a hugely successful programme that has transformed the lives of more than 20,000 men since its introduction in 2016.

The 10-week programme kicks off in Sheffield on Thursday 22 February and is supported by the Community Stadium at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, who are hosting the 90-minute weekly ‘fixtures.’

Offload fixtures are delivered by a team of RL Cares clinically trained former players, who share their own lived experiences of coping with stress, anxiety, and other health issues to help participants enhance their mental fitness.

Sheffield Eagles Rugby Development Officer Andrea Dobson has helped deliver Offload fixtures with RL Cares in recent years and believes the programme will make a huge difference to the lives of men in the Sheffield area.

“I’ve seen at first hand the impact Offload has had on the men who take part and I’m delighted that Sheffield Eagles has this opportunity to bring this fantastic programme to the city,” said Dobson.

“Life is tough for lots of people in and around Sheffield and men, in particular, often struggle to cope, or find it difficult to reach out and get help.

“Offload has been so successful because men find it very relatable to them: there’s no pressure, no judgment and you don’t even need to be a rugby fan.

“I’m 100-per-cent confident that everyone who comes along to our Offload fixtures will see their lives change in a positive way.”

In a study by academics from Edge Hill University, Offload was described as “a model of best practice” for engaging with men on issues around mental wellbeing.

The study said: “Having the sessions led by former professional sports people working alongside mental health and community sport experts makes it a safe space and allows participants to express themselves fully. This, in turn, provides great outcomes for the men involved.”

The Offload programme is led by former Sheffield, Leeds, England and Great Britain centre – and current Eagles assistant coach – Keith Senior, who works as the Community and Welfare Manager at RL Cares.

Senior’s colleagues include ex-Ireland international Bob Beswick, former Halifax and Wales player Damian Gibson, and Gareth Ellis, the former Hull FC, Leeds, Wakefield and Great Britain star, all of whom are involved in Offload delivery.

Offload fixtures in Sheffield take place every Thursday between 6.30pm and 8.00pm at the Community Stadium at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, starting on Thursday 22 February, and are free to join.

To sign up for Offload, or for more information, please contact Andrea Dobson on 07960 135699 or email