Community clubs benefit as Dick Gibson Club Ambassadors Festival returns for 10th anniversary

It’s one of the highlights of the junior rugby league calendar, and on Sunday 18th August more than 270 children from 16 Ambassador clubs took part in the tenth edition of the Dick Gibson Club Ambassadors Festival, supported by Charlie Brett’s, at Leeds Rugby Academy in Kirkstall.

Each year the festival celebrates the importance of Leeds Rhinos’ Club Ambassador scheme in empowering community clubs in Leeds to improve standards and create community cohesion for the betterment of Junior Rugby League in the city.

The showpiece event proved to be a huge success, with some fantastic rugby league played by all the teams across the four competing age groups, from Under 7s to Under 10s. There were some familiar faces in attendance, with former Leeds Rhinos star Nick Scruton helping to manage his Drighlington Under 7s team and Leeds Rhinos Women’s Head Coach Leon Crick visiting the festival with Birkenshaw Bluedogs Juniors.

Off the field there was plenty going on too, with lots of entertainment including music, stalls and a bouncy castle, with Naturally Best once again teaming up with the Foundation to show their support by providing refreshments for all the players and staff.

Leading the festival were Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Community Clubs Development Officers Sam Horner and Helen Schofield, who explained why it has been a sustained success over the last decade.

“There’s a lot of planning and preparation involved to make it so special,” said Schofield.

“We always have some more turn up on the day but it’s just brilliant and it’s great to put something like this together for the kids to enjoy. They get the chance to play against teams they might not play against in the Yorkshire Junior Leagues and all come together as one club.

“Then there’s also the chance to meet the Rhinos first team players, they just get so much out of it. You can see from their faces they’re having fun and enjoying it which is what it’s all about.”

Horner added: “Once again it’s been a fantastic spectacle and a demonstration of the strength of community rugby league in Leeds. We’ve had loads of kids and loads of clubs here and this is always one of my favourite events to help organise.

“The support we receive from all our sponsors, Charlie Brett’s, Naturally Best, Mears, First Bus, it’s invaluable and helps us put on events like this to inspire the next generation. They see the value of the work we do and it helps us to keep going and going.

“It’s important to thank the coaches too, because without them bringing their teams down and supporting our festivals we wouldn’t be able to run them. We’re delighted to see some many clubs get on board and make the most of an opportunity like this through Leeds Rhinos Foundation.”

To see the full photo gallery from the 2019 Dick Gibson Club Ambassadors Festival, click HERE.

For more information on Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Club Ambassadors scheme, please contact