Rugby league skills will be nurtured thanks to £40,000 donation

CHILDREN and young people with special educational needs will take part in rugby league development sessions after a £40,000 donation from a Leeds-based grant giving foundation.

Leeds Rugby Foundation
Leeds Rugby Foundation

The Leeds Rhinos Foundation was given the money to fund its flagship Rugby League Development Plan from the St James’s Place Foundation, the charitable arm of the St James’s Place Wealth Management company, which has its Yorkshire base in Leeds.

Head of St James’s Place Foundation, Mark Longbottom said: “The St James’s Place Foundation is proud to support the Leeds Rugby Foundation and their vital work with disadvantaged and disabled young people from across Yorkshire.

“We share the belief that positive participation in sporting activities can lead to long term positive change, helping children and young people to gain confidence and reach their full potential”

Stephen Mitchell, a representative of the Foundation in Leeds, presented a cheque for £40,000 to David Longo, General Manager of Leeds Rhinos Foundation, at the club’s game against Widnes on Friday.

He is the founder of the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards, which last year raised more than £100,000 for the Foundation. The Yorkshire Post is the media partner of the awards, which aims to raise money to help disadvantaged youngsters while acknowledging those in the region who have shown courage in dealing with difficult circumstances.

Plans are already underway for this year’s event, which will take place at New Dock Hall in Leeds on October 16.

Last month Mr Mitchell was recognised for his work with the SJP Foundation Award - now re-named the Stephen Sutton Award in tribute to the inspirational fundraiser- to honour his dedication to the cause over the last four years.

Since the first event in 2011, Mr Mitchell and the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards team have raised in excess of £150,000.

He received the Stephen Sutton Award from Stephen’s mother, Jane, at a ceremony in London.

Mr Mitchell said: “I feel completely humbled to have received this Award – but I could not have done it without the help and support of my fellow committee members.

“We are particularly excited about the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards and exceptionally proud to have originated the idea. We are seeing the annual ceremony flourish beyond our expectations and we have amazing plans in place for the 2015 dinner.”