Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Inspiring Champions programme, funded by the IGEN Trust, is a six-session early intervention programme offered to Year 5 primary pupils who go to school in areas of Leeds where numbers of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) are significantly above average.

The Yorkshire and Humber region is currently second in the national table for NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) young people within Leeds contributing 22,900 (aged 16-18). In order to reduce this figure, Leeds City Council working with different partners across the city aim to tackle the issues early, to provide children in primary schools with positive activities that will stay with them during the rest of their school lives.

It has been running since January 2015. To date a total of round 900 children from 18 different Leeds Primary schools have taken part.

The programme is split between classroom and physical activities:

Week 1: Teamwork.
We look at the importance of working with others through a variety of activities which will reinforce the importance of working within a team and recognise that everyone is an equally important part of the whole. The activities will promote equality and diversity, respecting others and the importance of skills such as trust and communication

Week 2: Healthy Lifestyle.
We include the importance and benefits of physical activity, healthy eating diet, sleep and how to measure heart rates. The emphasis is on helping the children to identify positive choices they can make for themselves to improve their diet, emotional and physical well-being.

Week 3: Problem Solving
We identify problems exploring dilemmas that look at conflict between keeping a confidence and seeking help for a mate, then work together to recognise ‘the other side/viewpoint’ and possible solutions. Working together using teamwork during group activities will look at ways to work together and communicate effectively to solve problems.

Week 4: Resilience
We look at what the definition of resilience is, identify what qualities and skills make us resilient and look at ways we may bounce back from challenges we may face, stereotypes and peer pressure. Support around us and key people who are there to provide support and help at home, school and elsewhere.

Week 5: Ambition
We look at aspirations for the future and break these down into a series of manageable/achievable steps. We also identify strengths, weaknesses and possible barriers to success which could hinder their progress. By using role models from different areas of life and sport we can encourage them to think about the effort that has gone into their heroes’ success – enabling them to see their own potential reflected in them.

Week 6: Proud 2B Leeds-Proud 2B me
We help children to identify their role and importance within their school, community and city. The group attend an activity at Leeds Sailing Centre where the children will be able to demonstrate the transferable skills, they have learnt by taking part in Inspiring Champions during the outwards bound activity and put into practice in a different environment; working together as a group, leadership, communication and challenge themselves.

If you would like to book your school on our Inspiring Champions programme, please contact Janet.sylvester@leedsrhinosfoundation.org.

For more information on our Inspiring Champions Project: