Leeds Rhinos Foundation is partnering with Oldham Rugby League Club to offer more development opportunities for players and coaches in the Oldham area.
Following on from the outstanding work the charity has done with Oldham Sixth Form College in the last two years, which sees students combine their academic studies with taking part in the Rhinos performance programme, Leeds Rhinos Foundation are now expanding their work by partnering up with Oldham RLFC to help grow the sport, create more opportunities to play and attract more players.
The partnership will have a specific focus around community club participation along with both coach and player development. This will include an opportunity for local Under 15s and 16s players to play in a curtain raiser prior to Oldham’s League One fixture against Rochdale on Good Friday.
Community club coaches and volunteers in the Oldham area will also be able to benefit from the wide range of benefits associated with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s ambassador programme, including coaching and volunteer workshops and an invitation to play in the ambassador festival.
Leeds Rhinos Foundation will have a Rhinos Talent Pathway hub in Oldham that local players will be able to access. The ambition is to offer young players the chance to continue their development under the Pathway coaches, to attract new players and to improve player retention in the game. There will also be clear pathway channels to the Oldham Sixth Form College pathway and potentially to scholarship and academy programmes.
Coaches from the local area will also be able to access coaching workshops and programmes and can also apply to coach on the bespoke Under-15s and 16s programme, with support and mentoring from Oldham and Leeds Rhinos Foundation as part of this commitment.
Darren Higgins, Rugby League Development Manager for Leeds Rhinos Foundation, said: “We are really excited to be working with Oldham Rugby League and we think this partnership will really strengthen the work we do there and offer great benefits to both players and coaches.”
Oldham head coach, Stuart Littler, said: “We’re linking up with a great organisation in Leeds Rhinos Foundation. From my personal background – I run a Foundation in Leigh where I’ve coached college rugby – so I know there are players who don’t get picked up for scholarships, but come through at later dates.
“There are players everywhere, so it’s just having an eye and an open mindset to where we pick players from. If we can develop young Oldham players then that helps strengthen us as an organisation.
“I’m big on trying to get in the community and doing the best I can. It’s a positive link up for the club and if it produces players then it can only be a win-win.
“We’re trying to grow the club on and off the pitch and the more positive relationships we can get as a club with colleges and Super League clubs the better it is for us at Oldham.”
Christopher Hamilton, Chairman of Oldham Rugby League Football Club, added: “Oldham Rugby League Club and Community Trust is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation.
“The long term lease on Melrose Playing Fields was the opportunity for the club to seriously engage with the local community of Oldham in a serious way and this new partnership is one of the first steps on that path.
“We will be joining with the Rhinos to provide new and exciting opportunities for those who want to take their love of rugby league to the next level.
“We are excited to be working with them on this project – one which has already seen the Rhinos and the Sixth Form College using the facilities at Melrose.”
An information evening to outline all the development work in Oldham will be held on 16th January at Oldham Sixth Form College. CLICK HERE to register.