Foundation’s Tackle It project makes comeback as charity take action against domestic abuse

Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Tackle It project is set to resume at the end of November as the charity continues its work to support victim survivors of domestic abuse and help lower re-offending rates by running workshops with those convicted of the crime.

Launched in 2019 as part of Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s ‘Reducing Re-Offending’ scheme, the charity has now been cleared to recommence the delivery of Tackle it within HMP Wealstun, promising to build on the positive work which was carried out during the first year of the project before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to proceedings.

The ground-breaking programme, which is run in partnership with the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, will be delivered twice a week over a 6-week block of learning, consisting of both classroom and physical activities with personal development. Workshops will demonstrate how individual qualities and life skills can be transferable into many different situations. The project targets all areas of personal development: including anger triggers, recognising healthy and unhealthy relationships, healthy living, behaviour and consequences, and identifying strengths to build up confidence. 

Using sport as a tool for engaging with participants, the aim is to deliver a programme of challenging activities and value-based lessons for offenders to take positive steps forward in their lives and successfully re-integrate into society following their release. Out of the 31 sentenced offenders to have successfully completed the Tackle It course since it began, only one has later been recalled to prison.

Dane Weatherill, Project Tutor for Leeds Rhinos Foundation, said: “The Tackle It project will not only work with groups and individuals but also offer extra support for victim survivors, whilst working with different partners such as the probation service and the West Yorkshire Victim Reduction Unit to make a difference through the power of sport.

“There have been a number of positive outcomes from our ‘Reducing Re-offending’ schemes, with released prisoners moving into employment, training and education and in some case returning to the programme as mentors to positively inspire other inmates. We’ve had lots of inquiries about joining the course and the uptake has likely been so strong because of the positive feedback and experiences that have been shared from previous Tackle it courses.

“Now more than ever we must use the ‘Tackle It’ programme to investigate ways we can regularly prevent domestic abuse as a whole and greatly reduce the risk of re-offending, thus hopefully preventing further victim survivors.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen the worrying increase in cases of domestic abuse in Leeds and so we are extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to tackle this issue and help change people’s lives for the better, by breaking the cycle of offending and reminding them there is no excuse for abuse.”

Director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, Chief Superintendent Jackie Marsh said: “Projects such as ‘Tackle it’ are crucial to addressing the prevalence of domestic abuse across our communities.

“Compounded by the social repercussions of the COVID pandemic, we are continuing to witness notable increases in this type of crime both nationally and locally. Only through a concerted partnership approach with organisations such as Leeds Rhinos Foundation, can we make a real difference for victims and survivors, whilst impacting upon the behaviours of perpetrators.

“We know through our research that there are particular age groups most susceptible to negative influence and it is crucial that we intervene before these attitudes play out in domestic settings. The funding and support of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit ensures that we can work together to deliver a more informed response through early intervention and prevention techniques.”

Further Advice

For advice and support for those suffering domestic abuse, visit the West Yorkshire Police website on the link below:

For more information about Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Tackle It project, please email