Young Lions roar in East Leeds
Girls in East Leeds are being given the chance to develop their sporting skills through a new initiative with Leeds United Foundation and the Premier League.
The award winning ‘East Leeds Lions Netball’ formed just 18 months ago, have linked with Corpus Christi Catholic College and the ‘Premier League 4 Sport’ programme delivered by the Leeds United Foundation aimed at creating a community satellite club for girls aged 12 and over. The programme provides eager youngsters in the East Leeds area an opportunity to grow and enhance their sporting prowess. Students from the school have been described as ‘inspirational’ in driving forward the current achievements and progress.
Regular training sessions take place at the school, delivered by Leeds United Foundation coaches and supported by a committee including three Corpus Christi students, Francesca Hunt, Lauren Dwyer and Shannon Ward. All 3 girls have shown outstanding commitment since the start of the programme along with excellent leadership characteristics.
The committee have been instrumental in helping establish the East Leeds Lions Netball club with girls tasked with developing a code of conduct for the club, ground rules as well as a model of ‘best practice’ for all new and existing participants. Eager students have also undertaken extensive market research to determine what participants are seeking from the newly formed club as well as tasks including designing the new kit for both training and playing.
Natalie Harrison, Head of PL4S Netball Coaching, coach at Corpus Christi:
“Committee girls have been a key part in the success and I feel as there coach very proud of what they have helped achieve so far. A sustainable number of girls in the East Leeds Area now attend regular training sessions and have created a social hub to get together improve their sporting skills while enjoying new events together and help keep the girls motivated and provide them something to aim and strive towards.”
The Leeds United Foundation, the official charity of the Elland Road club, have also provided extensive support and assisted the Lions drive the project forward.
Michael Kinsey, Operations Manager, the Leeds United Foundation, said:
“The uptake of netball in East Leeds has risen significantly since the commencement of the Premier League 4 Sport programme and they are now playing with nearly 40 girls every week. All the girls that attend the sessions have shown excellent commitment in developing their own skills and those of the team as a whole.
“The journey for the East Leeds Lions is really progressing and just recently the girl’s new kit was designed by the committee group which gives all the players a sense of pride, ownership and belonging to the team.”
WATCH THE JOURNEY OF THE EAST LEEDS LIONS...
The Foundation has also supported the East Leeds Lions in attending events and fixtures including meeting England Netballer Pam Cook at a tournament hosted by Liverpool FC. Following the tournament the eager young stars watched the England netball team take on Australia, otherwise known as ‘The Diamonds’, at Liverpool Echo Arena. The experience left the girls amazed and inspired at seeing the World Champions and their idols perform at the highest level.
In March the East Leeds Lions Netball were nominated by the Foundation to attend the Premier League 4 Sport regional awards in the category of the ‘Young Club Champion of the Year Award’ hosted by Hull City AFC. The focus for the evening was the acclaimed Leeds United Foundation case study promotional video highlighting the success of the team and the young girls’ committee group and the positive influence it has had. The girls faced stern opposition from; Middleborough, Sunderland, Newcastle, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday. Despite fierce competition the girl’s attitudes and evidence of success was celebrated with a much heralded win in recognition of their outstanding achievements.
Nick Perchard, Acting Head of Community Development, Premier League, said:
“The Premier League 4 Sport programme uses the power of football and the magnetism of the club badge to engage young people in sport. The creation of the East Leeds Lions Netball Club highlights what can be achieved when a pro-active football club foundation works in partnership with local organisations and embraces young people's passion and enthusiasm for sport.”
Michael Kinsey, Leeds United Foundation concluded:
“The East Leeds Lions genuinely deserve the acclaim and their Premier League recognised award. Special thanks must go to the coaches that support the programme and have developed all the abilities, offering a fun, enjoyable and inclusive environment to succeed, the surrounding Schools, especially Corpus Christi Catholic College for their continued support towards to PL4S programme. The Lions are an absolute inspiration for women’s sport in Leeds”