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Bristol Ladies launch Ripples programme in memory of inspirational Jen

Bristol Ladies are set to launch a new mental health programme in memory of Jen Lander, a close friend of the club, who sadly passed away last year.

Named after Jen’s dog, ‘Ripples’ is a new free, confidential support service available to members of Bristol Ladies, where individuals can talk about their mental health and any issues that they have. 

The programme will launch ahead of Saturday’s Tyrells Premier 15s clash with Firwood Waterloo at Cleve RFC (5:45pm KO), with a rugby-themed themed fun day, in partnership with Bristol Rugby Community Foundation, preceding the game. The fun day kicks off at 3pm, with a bungee run and speed gate just part of a fun-filled rugby festival.  

Jen openly struggled with mental health issues throughout her life, so in her memory, the club has set up Ripples, allowing players and members to discuss issues such as anxiety, relationships, stress, depression, financial issues, education pressures, injury, day to day worries and any issues that may be affecting their game/commitment.

“After Jen’s passing, our eyes were really opened up as to how mental health affects so many people around us,” said Bristol Ladies CEO, Heidi Chapman-Mercer.

“Jen was always so open in talking about her struggles, but not everyone has her confidence. The scheme was designed to be a place where people feel protected and safe in order to be open and honest about their struggles rather than bottling them up.

“I hope Jen is looking at us from wherever she is, smiling with a full heart knowing that she has made a lasting impact on our Bristol Ladies Rugby family.”

Around 25% of people will experience a common mental health problem each year, with women more likely to be diagnosed than men. Ripples is an organisational member of the National Counselling Society and managed by volunteers, James Hall and Bristol Ladies CEO Heidi Chapman-Mercer.

The scheme offers a confidential service where players can talk to an independent individual about any issues they may be having, as well as having accelerated links to local counselling services if a player requires expert assistance with their health issue.

For more information, contact Heidi Chapman-Mercer (heidi.chapman-mercer@bristol-sport.co.uk).

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