Rugby league clubs team up to reduce youth crime

The Rugby Football League (RFL) has launched a joint initiative between seven leading clubs aimed at reducing youth crime and violence.

The ‘Inspiring Futures’ programme will be delivered by the charitable foundations of Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors, Leigh Centurions, St Helens and Huddersfield Giants after the RFL was awarded £660,000 by the Youth Endowment Fund.

The programme will be made up of three strands: ‘Educate’, ‘Aspire’ and ‘Connect’.

Educate will see coaches from the clubs’ foundations deliver assemblies in local secondary schools to 8,750 young people, aged 11 to 14, over the next two years. The sessions will use messages and media from professional Rugby League players to promote self-esteem, teamwork and wellbeing. Coaches will also work alongside these schools to run 12-week mentoring programmes to support young people with behavioural issues.

Aspire will use a sports-based programme to develop the life-skills and confidence of 1,400 young people. The foundations will work with local crime prevention agencies to target anti-social behaviour hotspots, first-time offenders and young people at high-risk of offending.

Connect recognises the importance of strong family relationships in preventing young people engaging in crime and violence. The 10-week intensive therapy programme will work with 315 young people and their family members to strengthen relationships, develop resilience and improve communication.

The Youth Endowment Fund will evaluate the impact of the RFL’s Inspiring Futures programme and share the learning to support further early intervention projects across England and Wales.

Thomas Brindle, Head of Growth at the Rugby Football League, explained: “Rugby League Foundations are a force for good in communities often facing multiple disadvantages and challenges.

“This partnership brings together seven teams’ charitable foundations in an ambitious two-year programme to change the lives of some of the most vulnerable young people across the North of England.

“We’re thrilled the Youth Endowment Fund will fully evaluate this programme, so we can add to our learning and understanding around the impact Rugby League makes to individuals and communities.”

The Youth Endowment Fund supports and evaluates promising early interventions working with 10 to 14-year olds in England and Wales to prevent youth offending. It was established with an endowment of £200m over 10 years from the Home Office. A total of 23 early intervention projects have now been awarded funding, totalling £17.1m and reaching more than 36,000 children.

Read more about the Youth Endowment Fund.