The RFL and its member clubs have launch a new initiative aimed at helping reduce youth crime and violence across its key markets.
Independent charitable trust, the Youth Endowment Fund, has awarded the governing body £660,000 to launch and evaluate 'Inspiring Futures', a new programme aimed at preventing young people from getting caught up in violent crime through work in the classroom, local community and with their families.
The programme will be delivered by the charitable foundations of Super League clubs Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors, Leigh Centurions, St. Helens and Huddersfield Giants and will be supported by the RFL.
The Youth Endowment Fund supports and evaluates promising early intervention initiatives working with 10 to 14-year olds in England and Wales to prevent youth offending. It was established with an endowment of £200m over ten years from the Home Office. A total of 23 early intervention projects have now been awarded funding, totalling £17.1m and reaching over 36,000 children.
Its Executive Director, Jon Yates, said: “Too many children have their lives blighted by violent crime. Across the country organisations are working hard to change this. We’re delighted to partner with the Rugby Football League on this programme. With this money we can make a difference and learn lessons that can help across England and Wales.”
The RFL says the Inspiring Futures programme will centre around three pillars: Educate, Aspire and Connect.
Coaches from the club foundations deliver assemblies in local secondary schools as well as running 12-week mentoring programmes to support children with behavioural issues within schools, while a sport-based programme will help to develop life-skills and confidence amongst young people as well as targeting anti-social behaviour hotspots, first-time offenders and young people at high-risk of offending.
The programme will also seek to recognise the importance of strong family relationships in preventing young people engaging in crime and violence and a ten-week intensive therapy programme will also work with 315 young people and their family members to strengthen relationships, develop resilience and improve communication.
Ralph Rimmer, Chief Executive of the Rugby Football League, said: “Rugby League is committed as a sport to making lives better, and it is uniquely placed to do so. This great news is further recognition of the difference this sport makes in its communities. On behalf of the sport, the RFL is at the forefront of evidencing the value of the sport’s work in mental health, education, skills and community cohesion, as well as physical wellbeing through sport. This year we will continue to promote this social dividend, including speaking to Government and policy makers about increasing social mobility through Rugby League."
Meanwhile, the Rugby League family has recently come together for Leeds Rhinos great Rob Burrow after a sell-out benefit game at Headingley.
Having been recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, Burrow took to the field in a Leeds shirt one final time in front of 20,000 fans.
The event was initially planned as a testimonial for Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Burrow’s former teammate, but a decision was made a host a joint event following the news of his diagnosis.