Today we're delighted to announce we have entered into an exciting new partnership with Leeds Rhinos Foundation. The Foundation is the Leeds Rhinos' official charity and we've signed a 12 month deal which will see a full-time member of staff from the Foundation work directly in some of our day services.
This move follows a successful six-week pilot where Chris Godfrey, Leeds Rhinos Foundation Disability Coordinator, led first class sports coaching through taster physical activity sessions at our Kirkstall Leisure Centre community base.
As Chris explained:
"We'll be doing a day a week in each of Aspire's three main day service hubs on sport and physical activity plus one further day each week offering health lifestyles and healthy living training."
Andy Rawnsley, Chief Executive at Aspire said:
"It's going to be fantastic for us. After the pilot loads of people gave us really positive feedback and it was good that a larger number of the people we support were getting into physical activity. The partnership we have launched today with Leeds Rhinos Foundation means their development worker can come in and do some work across the city for four days a week delivering activity-based sessions and general health and wellbeing coaching."
Chris Godfrey added:
"There is a massive appetite for rugby generally and a lot of the people Aspire support are big Rhinos fans. The one thing the majority of the disability community don't have is opportunity and I think what we are hoping to do is to provide that opportunity and give people a chance to participate, play and ultimately expand on the skills they have got already. So it's a good opportunity for them to engage in a more practical sense with what we offer at the Foundation."
On the final day of the pilot it was clear to see how much the sessions had come to mean to everybody involved. So we are delighted to sign this partnership deal which means the sessions can continue not only at Kirkstall, but also be rolled out in our day services across Leeds enabling more of the people we support to get involved.
As part of the launch of our new partnership, Leeds Rhinos star Jimmy Keinhorst took the opportunity to see for himself what the sessions are all about. He came along to Kirkstall Leisure Centre and brought the Super League trophy with him. After signing dozens of autographs Jimmy joined in with the fun in the sports hall.
Speaking at the session, Jimmy said:
"It's been really good to meet everyone who is involved with it and see how many people it is enhancing the lives of. You can really see how this partnership is going to be positive. I think it's fantastic that the Foundation has got involved with Aspire. This gives more people of all abilities the chance to get involved in sport and physical activity, so it's great to see."
Leeds Rhinos TV were there on the day too, and you can see a great video here. (The Aspire item starts around 5mins 15 seconds in.)