Current England rugby league international Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who appeared against the Exiles last weekend, has accepted the position of Trustee on the Board of the Leeds Rugby Foundation, Leeds Rugby’s official charity
The Bramley-born second rower – who was signed from Stanningley, has won five Grand Final rings with the Rhinos and was their 2011 Player of the Season – is believed to be the first current player to be asked to join a Foundation governing body in the sport.
“I like being the first at anything but it’s a real pleasure to be invited and something that I’m very keen to get involved in,” he said on accepting the role. “I’m one of those people who likes to try and help out where I can.”
“Ironically, I’ve been a governor at Priesthorpe School for the last 18 months and we’ve just moved over to co-operative trust status and I was asked to sign over the forms and accompanying partnership agreement on the behalf of the Leeds Rugby Foundation.”
“It’s great when you’re part of such a prestigious network as the Foundation, you can facilitate people coming together and help make the world move a bit smoother in these times of austerity.”
The dual-sport Leeds Rugby Foundation, whose strap line is ‘changing lives through sport’, is supported by the players on a range of educational, health and sporting programmes across all ages, abilities and both genders.
Jones-Buchanan continued, “Everybody looks at things through their own lens in life and whatever vantage point they come from. Obviously I play the sport and see the world from there so I’ll try and bring whatever I can from that perspective.”
“I just want to serve and to try and help out as best I can when I’m asked about the work and value of the Foundation. It’s quite new for me and at this stage I’m not exactly sure what being a Trustee entails other than channelling the energies of a hugely committed staff who I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in action, but I’ll dive in with both feet and I know I’m going to enjoy it.”
“Leeds is such a vibrant and cosmopolitan city,” he added. “There’s the Arena going live soon and a great facility down at the John Charles Centre in the south, a lot of things going on in and around and Headingley is a hub for that, it attracts people from all over and has such fantastic and iconic facilities for the Foundation to tap in to and do great works from.”
“Everyone around the club understands the value of the Foundation and what it is trying to achieve across the social spectrum and there is genuine co-operation between the sports and staff here, it is a vital asset in a unique environment.”
“I’m a passionate advocate for us all helping each other,” the 30-year-old noted, “the world begins to disintegrate when we start drifting apart, we need to come together, live in circles and look after one another as best we can.”
“I’m fortunate to have a great life in sport and, having coached kids for the Foundation, I want to do my best to put something back into communities.”
The rugby players undertake over 700 appearances a year on behalf of the Foundation and are genuine role models.
“I’m honoured to be asked and humbled and I want to repay that trust,” Jones-Buchanan said. “I’ve come through the system here and feel incredibly fortunate to have been asked, it is another string to my bow and I very much want to stay involved in the game, it’s my trade and all I know.”
“If I can help to be a good cog in the Foundation system I’d love to be able to.”
Leeds Rugby Foundation Chairman Dr Neil Kaiper-Holmes commented, “When it was suggested that we should have a player representative on the Board it seemed to make eminent sense especially bearing in mind the incredible, unselfish work they undertake on our behalf and in support of our programmes.”
“We are extremely fortunate at Leeds that we have so many who we could have appointed but Jamie was recommended by the coaching and management because of his outstanding and unstinting record in supporting the aims and objectives of the Foundation and is a genuine local hero passionate about his community.”