A Letter From The Founders - June 22

July marks five years since the inception of LooseHeadz. A conversation at the end of the bar in our club Wilmslow, that has now become a global movement working to place a mental health lead into every rugby club around the world.

Things have changed quite a bit since that final Lions test in New Zealand, and it’s about time we started keeping you all properly up to date with everything happening at LooseHeadz, after all, we wouldn’t be where we are today without your help and support.

Since the start of the year, we have placed a LooseHead into almost 500 rugby clubs around the world, launched the first module of our online training platform, announced a partnership with MLR, overhauled our mental health panel and put in motion two very exciting new initiatives (more on this later).

Most recently, both Rob and Dave have now begun working on LooseHeadz full time. Over the last five years, we have run LooseHeadz alongside full time jobs, meaning that we have never been able to give it our undivided attention, as much as we may have wanted to. Whilst it became increasingly clear that LooseHeadz needed a full-time team in order to do it justice, in all honesty, we were a bit embarrassed to admit that in order to do so, we would have to consider paying ourselves a salary that ensured we could cover life’s essentials.

After a lot of back and forth over the last few months, we have finally committed to taking the plunge having secured six months of funding to ensure this isn’t too much of a leap of faith. We believe this is a key milestone in the LooseHeadz journey, but we are also very aware this is something of a gamble as we seek to secure longer-term funding that will allow us to build a passionate team around us and allow us to achieve our goal of being in over 1,000 rugby clubs around the world by the end of 2023.

What this does mean, is we will be focussing on increasing the sales of our clothing range, encouraging even more incredible fundraisers and seeking direct funding in order to ensure we provide the most comprehensive mental health toolkit in rugby. We have already had some very exciting conversations with potential sponsors of the Foundation who passionately believe in what we are doing, but as with anything in life, there are no guarantees. We will be sure to keep you posted on how things go. 

As ever, we are always very keen to hear from anyone who might be interested in supporting our mission to place a mental health lead into every rugby club around the world, so if you think you, or your business, might be able to help, then please do get in touch.

Now a few special thank you’s to Liz Jarratt (and her team at Macclesfield), Joey Milburn & Jon Mcluskie (and the rest of the LooseHeadz Academy), Stu Baker (and the rest of the team at Cycle Away The Stigma), Jamie McGregor, Max & Rob Oerton, the SOFit Bootcamp team, and the hundreds of other people who are undertaking huge challenges to help raise funds for the LooseHeadz Foundation. If you have a totally bonkers idea, then you can get involved and start raising funds here.

Thanks to your ongoing support we are now able to announce that in the next few weeks we will be unveiling details of our dedicated textline in association with Shout that will be available to every one of our partner clubs. We are currently finalising the last few details, and will be able to share more with you in the next few weeks. We truly believe this will be a game changer for LooseHeadz Partner Clubs, whose members will soon have access to a 24/7 mental health support line.

We are also very excited to confirm that our Trustees have also just signed off on the development of the second module in our Mental Health Training. This module will focus on youth mental health, aiming to support 10-18 year olds as they continue to adapt to the return to rugby. We are working with our partners iSpace Wellbeing to develop the module, and will be sharing a survey with all of you soon to find out more about the key topics and themes this module will cover. Whilst we do not have a specific launch date for the new module yet, we will make further announcements soon.

On the clothing front, much like the rest of the world, we continue to be impacted by the effects of Covid, Brexit, the war in Ukraine and other global factors. This is causing issues throughout the supply chain, and increasing costs significantly across the board. To date, we have worked to absorb the initial increase in costs, and are exploring options to maintain our current pricing, but we cannot make any guarantees at this stage. We will however ensure you all have plenty of warning should we need to look at increasing any prices across our range.

In more exciting news, we are currently developing the first ever LooseHeadz playing/training kit. This will initially be entirely LooseHeadz branded (but we will be looking for input on the design in the near future), with a view to launching an offering to clubs next year once we are confident in the product and processes. Having perhaps rushed some releases in the past, this is one we really want to get right, so please bear with us, and wherever possible, provide honest, constructive feedback as we want to ensure you get the best possible products from LooseHeadz. 

We also have a number of exciting ongoing projects going on in the background, including new ambassadors (to be announced soon), a project to create an engaged community around our clothing range, collaboration projects with some of the biggest names in rugby, and much, much more whilst we will hopefully be able to update you on next month.

For now though, we hope you are all keeping safe, and look forward to catching up again soon.

Go safe,

Rob, Dave & Mark