Leeds Rhinos Foundation launch new Armed Forces Veterans Café at AMT Headingley

Leeds Rhinos Foundation is launching a new weekly social and activity club at AMT Headingley for Armed Forces Veterans, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund.

The new ‘Rhinos Brew’ Café starts on Thursday 23rd May from 2-4pm and will run from the stadium’s Community Hub. It aims to provide Armed Forces veterans in Leeds with weekly sessions focusing on education, social engagement, wellbeing, and physical activity in a welcoming, accessible and safe venue.

Developed collaboratively with both injured and non-injured veterans, these sessions leverage the impact of sports to address loneliness, isolation, and enhance mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.

The space will be funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust’s Force For Change programme and has been supported by players from the Leeds Rhinos Women’s team who are currently serving in the Armed Forces alongside veterans who now play for the charity’s physical disability and wheelchair teams.

Leeds Rhinos PDRL Coach, Simon Brown, who served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, commented on the initiative: “Sport is a key part of the military, helping us to bond and build relationships, but also a way to release.

“It also is a key part of how we transition and keep connections with our local communities.

“Both playing and supporting sport means we always have a connection to where we came from, so the Leeds Rhinos Foundation providing this safe space is so important, giving the veterans in our community an opportunity to socialise and interact with likeminded people.”

Each 90-minute session will comprise of an activity phase, followed by a social opportunity complemented with refreshments. Co-designed with veterans, these activities will range from educational workshops on healthy living, to tours of AMT Headingley Stadium and physical activity experiences like Wheelchair Rugby League.

These activities not only foster connections but also act as pathways, guiding participants towards additional opportunities and support in the wider community and through other Leeds Rhinos Foundation programmes. ‘Rhinos Brew,’ standing as an inclusive initiative, mirrors the broader commitment of our charity to embrace everyone and their abilities.

The launch of the Rhinos Café comes ahead of Leeds Rhinos’ annual ‘Armed Forces Matchday’ on Friday 19th April, as the Rhinos take on Huddersfield Giants.

To register your interest, please email health@leedsrhinosfoundation.org.