Gypsy and Traveller Project
Hunslet Warriors recently hosted a celebration evening for 25 youngsters from the Gypsy and Traveller community involved in a pioneering Rugby League project in Leeds.
Over the last two months the boys and girls, who are aged between 6 and 15 and from the Cottingley Springs site in South Leeds, have been receiving Rugby League coaching in order to improve their basic skills of the sport.
Organised in partnership with the RFL, Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange (Leeds GATE), Leeds City Council Sports Development Unit and Hunslet Warriors the sessions have been extremely well attended, despite one of the coldest winters in recent history.
RFL Equality and Diversity Manager, Sarah Williams said: “The Gypsy and Traveller community are one of the most discriminated groups of people in the community, but this project shows what success can be achieved by reaching out and working with them.
"This project stems from last year's England v Wales international when we invited around 30 members of the Irish Traveller community to attend their first rugby league game. They showed a huge enthusiasm for the game which has continued right through these training session at Hunslet Warriors.
“The LCC Community Sports Coach planned the 8 week programme, concentrating on core skills and was supported by the Hunslet Warriors volunteer coaches.
“All the children found the club very welcoming and we would like to thank Hunslet Warriors for kindly letting us use their facilities. Methley Warriors also deserve a huge amount of credit for donating kit which the children used during the training sessions.
“There was some promising new talent unearthed in the sessions and we hope that many of them will continue to attend training at Hunslet Warriors and we will be providing continued support to maintain these links.”
Following the success of this pilot scheme, all the partners involved are now looking at how this model can be rolled out in other Gypsy and Traveller communities.