There’s a lot more to the Foundation than just rugby

Hunslet Rugby Foundation goes from strength to strength, but it’s not just about rugby

Hunslet Rugby Foundation is approaching its 10th anniversary. Often the clue’s in the title, but Michael Nuttall, the Foundation’s manager, is worried that people don’t realise how much work they do beyond rugby.

On Thursdays and Fridays you will find him and his team at their base in the Belle Isle Welcome Centre. They run two free sessions: 4:30-6:30pm on Thursdays and 4-6pm on Fridays. These are open to families to come down and enjoy some fun and games and a cheap meal, just £1.20 for a child, £1.70 for accompanying adults.

The Welcome Centre is located at St John & St Barnabas Church, set back off Belle Isle Road, LS10 3DN, just above the Circus. It’s a fantastic resource with social space, kitchen, sports hall and safe outdoor space for when the weather improves.

The Youth Club is a chance to get out of the house. It’s a safe space where you can do arts and crafts, different sports: football, table tennis, circuit training, dancing – though they haven’t had a rugby session yet.

“There’s music on and if you just want to come down and you don’t want to do anything, you can just chill and talk to your mates, sit on your phone. That’s why we’re here, providing a safe space for people to be, rather than on a shop corner” says Michael.

On Saturday mornings, 10:30am-12:30pm they’re at Brickfield Park, Lady Pit Lane in Beeston, delivering more free sessions to the community.

“It’s about getting families in for sports sessions” explains Michael. “Not just rugby, we’ll do rugby if that’s what they want, but all our staff are qualified and can deliver a range of sports.”

Of course, the Foundation does promote rugby too and after the Thursday youth club in Belle Isle they head up the road to Leeds Corinthians ground – Nutty Slack, next to Middleton Leisure Centre and Cockburn Laurence Calvert Academy in Middleton – for boys and girls rugby from 6:30-7:30pm.

“We only launched the sessions in March, but it’s become really popular” says Michael. “We’ve already got a team of girls as well as a team of boys. To be honest it took us a bit by surprise. The idea was to set it up as a training night, get people from the local schools, local streets, community clubs coming together and just enjoying an hour or two a week. We put social nights on, last week we did some pizzas and we’ll continue to do that.

“We’re delighted that some of the parents have volunteered to help with the sessions too.”

“Some of the girls have come from the sessions at the Welcome Centre and have never experienced rugby before, but they love it. And they are socialising with girls from other schools which is good for them.”

The Foundation has really developed since Covid. Its focus remains local on South Leeds, but they also work with schools in Garforth and Morley. Staff live locally, which is a real motivation and they want to make a difference to their community.

The team has grown with Michael now supported by Aiden and James and augmented by university students gaining work experience.

Much of the core work is still supporting PE in primary schools and they have run a series of football and rugby tournaments to bring the schools together.

The successful rugby festival, which has attracted community clubs from across the north of England over the last two years, will return in August. This year the expanded event will run over two days and invite boys teams of Under 7s, 8s, 9s, 10s, 11s, 12s; plus Under 12s girls to Leeds Corinthians.

Hunslet Rugby Foundation continues to provide opportunities for families and is going from strength to strength.

To find out more follow the Foundation on Facebook or email:


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