Leeds Rhinos Foundation's Sky Try programme delivery has received a new boost with the announcement that Leeds Rhinos stars Brett Ferres and Kallum Watkins will become official ambassadors.
As part of the charity's Rugby League development plan, sponsored by Mears and through funding in 2015 from Sky Try, Leeds Rhinos Foundation have been working with Ambassador Clubs in Leeds to set up new under 7s teams and introduce hundreds of new players to the game.
The foundation has so far realised this ambition by creating new under 7s teams with 19 clubs to date, introducing 214 new players to the game through the work of four regional Rugby League Development Officers operating in the city.
Rugby League Development Plan Manager Leon Crick commented on the appointments:
"We now have a Rugby League Development Officer in all four corners of the city with Richard Tate, Joe Sanderson, Ian Hardman and Callum Tolson all working with six clubs and Lois Forsell supporting the growth of girls rugby, but having support from the Rhinos playing squad always raises the profile of our Sky Try programme.
"We are delighted to appoint Kallum and Brett as ambassadors going forward."
He added: "We are very proud of our Rugby League Development Plan and what we have achieved so far particularly with the under 7s age group. My staff deserve enormous credit for their passionate and engaging delivery with our schools and clubs in the city."
The Rugby League introduction for the year 1 and 2 pupils starts with free coaching sessions, funded by Sky Try, in local primary school clusters before an invite to their local club for a taster session at the end of four weeks of delivery.
The programme has received support from Leeds Rhinos playing staff over the past two years, who have inspired pupils with school visits before supporting the coaching and meeting new players at the taster nights.
Kallum Watkins, who started his Rugby League journey with Latchford Albion before realising his dream to play international Rugby League, is excited by the prospect of inspiring more youngsters to play the game.
He said: "I still remember the first time I attended a rugby session - the feeling of be part of a club growing up was very special.
"I know Leeds Rhinos Foundation are planning to increase the number of clubs with an under 7s to 25 this year in Leeds, so it's an exciting time to be part of the programme, anything we can do as players to raise the profile of the sport and engage more young players is a great opportunity."
For more information on Leeds Rhinos Foundation's Sky Try programme contact Leon.Crick@leedsrhinosfoundation.org.