Leeds Rhinos Foundation proud to support World Autism Acceptance Week 2024

Rhinos Foundation Sports Day. Tues26thMar2024. © MATTHEW MERRICK PHOTOGRAPHY Leeds Rhinos (1)

Pioneered by the National Autistic Society (NAS), World Autism Acceptance Week aims to draw attention to the 700,000 people living with autism in the UK, both to educate those unaware of the condition, and to help make the world friendlier to those who are affected by it.

Here at the Foundation, we are committed to ensuring that all individuals have the opportunity to live out their full potential, through providing inclusive opportunities and using the powerful tool of sport, to change lives.

We were honoured to receive the Every Body Moves Club of the Year Award recently, as recognition for this dedication. To celebrate, we hosted an Inclusive Sports Day at Leeds Beckett University, and were joined by many players from our LDSL team who came along to join in the celebrations.

Our Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League was launched in 2019, and gives people with learning disabilities, including autism, the opportunity to play an adapted version of Rugby League, playing in festivals and events across the UK. The programme aims to promote the development of skills, confidence and positive experiences for those involved.

Participation levels within our Leeds Rhinos LDSL team are at an all time high, with the number of registered players representing the badge higher than ever before.

Mitchell Woodham, player for our LDSL team, is diagnosed with autism and commented on how joining the team has changed his life: “My favourite thing about playing for the LDSL team is that I get to play a sport that I love and make some lifelong friendships with some brilliant people.

“It has improved my confidence and improved my leadership skills, it has also improved my mental health. It helps me because it keeps me fit and keeps my brain active.

“I’d recommend playing LDSL because it is a great opportunity to play a fantastic sport and make friends with some brilliant people.”

The Foundation have also been a physical activity provider for Aspire CBS for over 5 years.

Across the week, we provide bespoke rugby-based and mixed sports physical activity sessions to Aspire CBS’s community hubs across the city, aimed at those diagnosed with a range of physical and learning disabilities.

Sessions focus on enjoyment and increasing physical activity levels, whilst providing the customers an opportunity to learn new skills in an inclusive and accessible manor.

Leeds Rhinos and its partners fully support the principle of equal opportunities, oppose all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination on the grounds of disability, striving to make our match day experience autism friendly and inclusive to all who visit the stadium.

The Club has a range of services and assistance available to spectators with access and extra requirements, including ear defenders, which were donated during the closed season by Wilf Ward Family Trust.

The defenders are available to loan from the Ticket Office on matchday, free of charge. If you require this service, please head to the Ticket Office transfer windows (inside the Stadium, next to the Club Shop) and our Customer Experience Team will be able to support you.

Leeds Rhinos are also working on a facility that is suitable as a purpose-built quiet room. If you require somewhere quiet on match day in the meantime, please also head to the Ticket Office transfer windows and our team will be happy to support you.

For more information regarding extra requirements on match days, please contact Ash Marshall, Accessibility Liaison Officer for match days: ashley.marshall@therhinos.co.uk.

Alternatively, for more information on our disability and inclusion programmes, please contact disability@leedsrhinosfoundation.org.