Leeds Rhinos Foundation

Leeds Rhinos Foundation

Changing Lives Through Sport

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Staff share 2018 Highlights
31 December 2018, 5:49
By Leanne Flynn
2018 was an incredible year for Leeds Rhinos Foundation. The charity launched their first Physical Disability Rugby League side and competed in the UK's first PDRL game, they delivered more physical activity sessions in schools than ever before, continued their excellent health work with their Try Club and Active Beyond Cancer programmes, provided more opportunities for players to develop and play through their Rugby League Development Plan and were named Foundation of the Year at Super League's Man of Steel Awards.
Here some of the charity's staff share some of their personal highlights from the year.

Lois Forsell, Women and Girls Rugby League Development Officer and Leeds Rhinos Women's captain

My first highlight was playing in Leeds Rhinos Women's first game at Emerald Headingley Stadium against Castleford Tigers. It was amazing to see the Rhinos family get behind the women's team and the best experience to play for my home town club at the stadium I have watched so many games at. We had so many young future Leeds Rhinos Women stars there too playing pre match or walking out with the women's teams which was inspiring to see and also a recognition of how much the game has grown through the Rugby League Development Plan and the support of Leeds Rhinos.

My second highlight was Corpus Christi Year 7 Girls winning the Champion Schools Finals. It is the first time we have won the Champion Schools Competition which shows how the standards of girls Rugby League has improved.

Laura Buckle, Health Improvement Officer

Myself and the team working on the healthcare programmes are very lucky that we work with our clients every single day, through doing this work we get to see some fantastic transformations in people's health and lifestyles daily, working with some inspiring people and hear first-hand the changes and improvements they've made to their lifestyles as a result of coming to a programme has got to be the highlight for us, hearing and seeing this never gets old and we are so lucky to be able to experience these regularly - it's the reason why we do what we do at the Foundation.

Winning Foundation of the year at the Man Of Steel has been the cherry on the cake for us all, every other Foundation not just in our sport but also locally are equally great and all do fantastic work in their community so it's a tough competition but winning it has still got to be a highlight. So many events, socials and programmes have been hosted by the foundation this year, it really has been our best year yet, seeing all aspects of the foundation growing and developing across in all areas of work is great, long may it continue!

Gavyn Lightowler, Schools Partnership Officer

I would like to nominate the Leeds Rhinos Foundation second cross football cluster event as my highlight of the year. This was held over two weeks at Crawshaw Academy back in November, with mixed teams of boys and girls from years 5 and 6.

This was an opportunity for all schools working with the foundation to come and showcase their footballing talents. We saw 24 teams attend and all had the chance of winning one of the 3 trophies on offer. Children came on the first week to play games so see which of the four leagues they would compete in the following week.

The children showed great skills and sportsmanship and were a real credit to themselves and their schools.

The winnings schools were Holy Family, St Barts and Farsley Springbank.

Gareth Cook, Head of Community and Engagement

This year has been out biggest in terms of the schools programme and the concept continues to grow with the addition this year of the North East Schools Game Officer and also a partnership with Active Schools.

PDRL have had their first successful year under the foundation and this has been one of, if not the most inspiring provision we have delivered this year. Providing a brilliant group of individuals who have bee offered a second chance at a game they feel may have been lost to them.

Finally, this year the Leeds Big Sleep, in partnership with St Georges Crypt and St Gemma's Hospice saw 105 staff, fans, volunteers and players sleep out at Emerald Headingley Stadium, raising over £30,000 split between the three charities.

Sam Horner, Community Clubs Development Officer

My highlights of the year were:

Indoor touch rugby starting last November and finishing in February, 11 Festivals and over 600 players from 7 to 11 engaged in a valuable programme, promoting skills and teamwork.

The memorable match day activities, and even though we had the stadium re-build we still saw lots of smiley faces enjoying playing and walking out with the players.

Coach Education for community coaches was well supported again from the performance department. Workshops included professional first team Rhinos players running position specific workshops, Strength and Conditioning, Kicking specific and Nutrition.

Coaching qualification course for Level 1 and 2 coaches and Academy Players were well received and many more are planned for 2019.

The 2 Club Ambassador Festivals of Rugby were again greatly attended by over 1100 players from both boys and girls teams.

The Outdoor Adventures at Herd Farm was attended by 36 under 13s players from different clubs, Many thanks to Geoff and Gill Caplan.

I ran my 11th Leeds 10k for the Foundation and signing up for the 12th.

Coaching the Military kids in Monse Belgian NATO base was a great experience and of course having the privilege to have visited Australia with the Rhinos for the World Club challenge was a huge highlight.

Helping each year with the Rhinos Challenge is very enjoyable, 160 teams this year.

The big highlight is the Rhinos hospital visit and always very touching more me, especially seeing Ruby in their who I was filmed with 4 years ago.

Lots more to come in 2019
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