Club's health project to “give a voice” to women affected by menopause
Rotherham United Women Football Club and Rotherham United Community Trust are working in partnership to deliver the project which offers a holistic approach to wellbeing including exercise, fitness, diet, advice and information, and social networking.
The project, funded by Sport England, is also supported by Voluntary Action Rotherham and primary care network link workers at GP surgeries across the borough.
The first session kicked off in the activities suite at New York Stadium with a speech from Val Hoyle, Rotherham United Women's secretary who founded the club in 1969 and shared stories of how as a 12-year-old schoolgirl she played five-a-side football at Rawmarsh baths, during an era when girls were actively prevented from playing football.
“Last summer we played our first game at New York Stadium which was a massive achievement,” she said. “We have a quality replica kit which is identical to the men's.
“It's about being part of a wider picture.
“We want everybody to be as inclusive with us.
“We are part of a bigger community we want to build.”
Also speaking at the morning event was coach and therapist Rachel Waring who told guests: “Take a moment to look to the left and right of you.
“You will see a woman experiencing her own unique set of symptoms and challenges.
“Our menopause journeys are like a puzzle and one size does not fit all.
“The menopause is not just hot flushes and the end of periods.
“It can have a profound impact on our physical, mental and emotional health, our relationships, our lives.”
She said: “I was a single parent with three kids and worked as a personal trainer. I exercised regularly, socialised and had a zest for life.
“But at 41 I felt like I'd been hit by a freight truck experiencing UTIs (urinary tract infections), anxiety, and plummeting self-esteem.
“Something was totally off.”
Her doctor told her she was “too young” for the menopause and prescribed anti-depressants.
“I knew I wasn't depressed and told them so,” she said, “I felt I wasn't being heard. I was utterly alone.
“At my lowest point I wasn't believed.”
Things began to improve after Rachel tried meditation and Rapid Transformational Therapy following a friend's recommendation and she was eventually prescribed HRT by her doctor after a five-year wait
“Finally I was being listened to,” said Rachel who used the pandemic to reflect and decide on a career change into her current role coaching people on issues including stress management, sleep and nutrition.
“Nobody should feel voiceless and helpless like I did.
“I want my daughter's generation and my grandchildren's generation to be heard and understood.”She added: “The menopause gifted me with a new direction – to speak up for others and stand together on this journey.”
Guests got involved in some light warm-up exercises and were also encouraged to fill in boards around the room with titles such as `Menopause makes me feel …' and 'What I need to help me is …'.
At the evening session, players from the women's team attended and there was the chance to get involved in a Zumba taster session.
Emma Schofield, health and wellbeing manager said: “We want also to reduce the taboo of menopause among all women, so they feel able to talk about it.
“It can be an isolating and lonely time so we want to bring women together and create a social network.”
The Menopause Support Dance and Chat events will be held at Liberty Church on Mondays from 12pm to 2pm, The Centre at Brinsworth Tuesdays from 10am to 12pm and at NYS Wednesdays from 6pm-8pm.
To book a place email [email protected].