SALFORD RED DEVILS FOUNDATION LAUNCH LIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

Salford Red Devils Foundation launched the Lions Development Programme on Monday evening.

Over 150 young local players from the Salford & Greater Manchester area in school years 6, 7 and 8 attended the first session on Monday evening, which was held on the 3G Astro turf at the Salford Stadium. 

Upon arrival players were split up into eight separate groups, rotating round cover numerous skills.

Each group was named after a current Salford Red Devils Super league player; Ken Sio, Kallum Watkins, Tim Lafai, Brodie Croft, Marc Sneyd, Andy Ackers, Ollie Partington and Shane Wright (who is sponsored by SRD Foundation).

To help deliver these sessions 12 local community coaches, from our catchment area, were given the opportunity to develop their coaching skills as well as comparing and sharing their ideas with other local community coaches. 

Salford Red Devils Foundation’s Head of Youth, Danny Barton, who is leading the programme, said: “It’s amazing that over 150 young local players which are coming from all over Greater Manchester have signed up to the Lions Development Programme and turned up with a smile on their faces.

“It is vital for our pathway that we are engaging with these young local players and creating a pathway for their development for years to come to give them the best possible opportunity to represent Salford Red Devils.

“These kids from all over Greater Manchester are not only the playing future of the club but also current and future fans of the club.

“A massive part of the programme was to get the local community coaches involved who all share a common goal and a desire to improve themselves and develop their coaching by working with other open minded coaches.

“Coaching in a professional environment enables coaches to compare and contrast philosophies and collaborating ideas to offer the best coaching experience to our local players back at our local community clubs.”

Local community club coach Scott Cahill, who coaches Folly Lane under 11s, wanted to develop his coaching skills and spoke to us about the Lions Development Programme.

He said: “I’m thrilled to be apart of the new Lions programme at Salford Red Devils, being able to share my ideas to other community coaches is great and being able to see how other coaches at other teams do things is really insightful.

“Being within this environment enables me to access professional CPD through working with Salford Red Devils Foundation coaches such as head of youth Danny Barton and also allows me to share knowledge and my experiences with fellow community coaches to grow and develop both us and the game.” 

“The chance for these kids to get the opportunity to represent Salford Red Devils is fantastic and gives the kids a sense of pride when wearing the Salford shirt.” 

Foundation Director Neil Blackburn said: “It’s testament to the team that we have so many young players in attendance and it shows that there is a hunger for Rugby League in not only Salford but the wider Greater Manchester area.

“These players are now part of our player development pathway and we look forward to nurturing them through their Rugby League journeys.” 

We cannot wait to welcome all our players and coaches back for the upcoming weeks! 

RUGBY LEAGUE IN MANCHESTER IS RISING

Rugby League in Greater Manchester has been given a huge boost with the exciting news that the Salford Red Devils Foundation are bringing the Manchester Rangers Foundation into the organisation, to allow a more focused delivery plan delivering high quality rugby league sessions across the whole of Greater Manchester.

The merged charities that have individually delivered outstanding community rugby programmes across the area will now benefit from shared resources and have the backing and support of the Super league club, Salford Red Devils to inspire positive change locally.

Salford Red Devils Foundation Director, Neil Blackburn has said: “After discussions with the hierarchy at the Manchester Rangers Foundation it soon became clear that both organisations have very similar aims and objectives, looking to give local residents opportunities to access life changing programmes using Sport Health and Education as the vessel for change.

“Rugby League is a sport for all and on the back of the positive impact made by the most inclusive World Cup ever in 2022 joining forces seemed like a fantastic opportunity to enhance and grow the rugby league offering across Greater Manchester together. 

“Joining forces gives us a new beginning where Salford Red Devils can help spread the word of rugby league across the north-west having two fabulous foundations championing health and physical activity opportunities for all!”

Initial activities in Manchester will continue under joint branding throughout the transitional period to ensure existing organisations and engagement feel no change to the existing operations.

Matt Valentine, Trustee of The Manchester Rangers has added: “Over the past decade we have been working hard in Manchester to grow Rugby League and increase participation across the city.

“From small roots we have grown the game to now have four community clubs under our umbrella in Belle Vue Bees, Broughton Park, Tameside Knights and Wythenshawe Community Rugby Club.

“Participation across the city, within the school game has increased immeasurable with more and more young people across the city now aware of and playing Rugby League.”

“Our trustees over the years in Malcolm Southerden, Stuart Morris, Phil Fitton and Chris Chamberlain have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to create these opportunities, that have been passionately delivered on by our staff.

“We have now reached the level of which our delivery can no longer be overseen by our volunteer board alone and have struck a partnership with Salford Red Devils Foundation to take the Rugby League offer in Manchester to the next level. 

“Our thanks go out to our partners and supporters over the years who have helped us grow and we are looking forward to an exciting future ahead with a pooled resource base that this new partnership can offer!”

For further information or to engage with us across Greater Manchester please contact: Neil.blackburn@srdfoundation.co.uk

If you are a school interested in delivery please contact: Joanne.shepherd@srdfoundation.co.uk

For community club/development pathway activities please contact: Danny.barton@srdfoundation.co.uk

SALFORD RED DEVILS FOUNDATION IMPACT REPORT 2022

The Salford Red Devils Foundation is proud to release its most recent Impact Report that gives an overview of the fantastic work we do every year in our local community.

SRDF has – since 2006 – continued to make an impact on the lives of people across the City of Salford and the wider Greater Manchester Community, raising aspiration and improving lives through Sport Health and Education.

Using the vessel of elite professional sport the foundation engages the community through a number of programmes including back to work, mental fitness, health and wellbeing along side our rugby league development pathway ‘rising stars’. High quality education and sports activities are delivered to local schools with many becoming Foundation partners.

SRDF is a charity that is solely funded through grants, donations, sponsorship and commercial activities.

If you can help or would like to get involved with Salford Red Devils Foundation please contact the foundation Director, Neil Blackburn on 0161 631 5252 or neil.blackburn@srdfoundation.co.uk

Read the Impact Report HERE

SRD Foundation to host trials for Wales Physical Disability World Cup squad

Salford Red Devils Foundation are proud to be hosting the trials at Eccles Sixth Form College for the Wales Physical Disability World Cup squad on Sunday 18th July at 2pm, as part of its ongoing commitment to providing access to rugby league for all in the community.

The first-class facilities will form a central base for ongoing training sessions delivered by highly qualified Wales Rugby League coaches and aided and supported by Salford Red Devils Foundation.

Salford Red Devils Foundation director Neil Blackburn said: “Salford Red Devils and Wales RL have a fantastic partnership in place and we are thrilled to be able to host their PDRL world cup squad.

“We currently run a Learning Disability Super League team and are actively looking to further develop our disability delivery so the opportunity to link up is perfect.”

The first session will be held on Sunday 18th July and this will give the opportunity for anyone who is interested to attend and join in with the activities.

Trialists need to be born in Wales, have lived in Wales for at least five years or have Welsh heritage – at least one parent or grandparent born in Wales. If you have any of these qualifications, you may get the opportunity to join the squad but if you don’t, all are still welcome to attend this open access session.

To register or for more information, please contact: neil.lynch@walesrugbyleague.co.uk.

PDRL Rules 

  • 9 women and men in a team with a physical disability
  • PDRL is a running format
  • Full contact and touch based on colour of shorts

Schools across Greater Manchester sign up to become Official School Partners

Since the launch of the Building the Future strategy in April, 71 schools from across Greater Manchester have signed up as ‘Salford Red Devils Official School Partners.’

The schools, many of whom are new to rugby league, are based in Salford, Manchester, Bury, Bolton, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford.

By becoming ‘Official School Partners’, schools will receive rugby league coaching sessions, player ambassador visits, entry into cup competitions and festivals, access to tickets for Betfred Super League games, receive invitations to inspirational events at the AJ Bell stadium, and professional development opportunities for school staff to develop their coaching skills and experience. Talented players identified through our Schools Network will be invited onto our Player Pathway programme. This will provide opportunities for young players from across Greater Manchester to begin the journey to represent Salford Red Devils in Super League.

Salford Red Devils Director, Paul Trainor, pictured above, said: “We are really excited to have our Official School Partners on board. From speaking with school staff, it is great to hear such enthusiasm and keenness to work with the club to engage with the next generation of players and supporters.

“As a club, we are aiming to make a lasting and sustainable difference to all of our School Partners, both on the rugby field and in the classroom.”

The Building the Future strategy is a five-year plan, jointly delivered by the Club and Salford Red Devils Foundation, to raise the profile of the club, whilst increasing participation and engagement in the sport of rugby league, and providing opportunities for the best talent from across the region to move onto a pathway to represent the club in Super League. As the premier rugby league club in the area, we aim to be the source of inspiration for young people to achieve their potential not just on the rugby field but also in their lives beyond the sport.

If you are a school that is interested in becoming official school partners of Salford Red Devils, please email: paul.trainor@salfordreddevils.net

RED DEVILS’ ACADEMY SLAY WOLVES IN THEIR OWN DEN

Salford Red Devils Academy team carried on exactly from where they left off last week, for having seen off the Wales Academy, in front of the first actual crowd of spectators, at the A J Bell Stadium, seven days ago, they travelled to Warrington to take on Super League opposition, in the form of the Wolves.

For those who had been fortunate enough to witness the young Red Devils in that dummy run for the opening up of the stadium, last week, there might have been those who expected them to find life considerably more difficult against such renowned opposition.  Nothing could have been further from the truth, and as if to underline the point, the Salford lads racked up what must be something of a record score against a Warrington side, at this level.

The game was barely a few minutes old when the visitors crossed for the first of their tries, courtesy second rower, Jack Kenway, with Jack Stevens adding on the extras.  Within minutes, the score board was in operation again when Michael Los cut through to take the tally into double figures, and it was not long before a second unconverted try was secured by Ben Wharton, taking the score to 0-14.

Jack Kenway, who, unfortunately, had hit the post with his first conversion attempt from Wharton’s try, was on target with his next attempt from in front of the posts, following scrum half, jack Stevens’s individual effort, bringing their points to twenty, in almost as many minutes.

It had been an incredible start to the game by the Red Devils who looked as though they could score whenever they wished to do so.  The platform was undoubtedly laid by the forwards, who ran with such determination and conviction, that it had the Warrington defensive line absolutely reeling.  Add to that a couple of extremely clever half backs, and the spine completed with equally effective fullback and hooker, and virtually one-way traffic was the result.

The only blots on their copybook came with two separate lapses of concentration.  The interception of a Salford pass, some twenty-five metres from their own line, saw the Wolves capitalise with a try of their own, totally against the run of the play to bring the score to 4-14.

A second Warrington try came later in the half, when the right edge defence failed to slide across towards the touchline despite calls from teammates to do so, and a gap large enough for the home attack to exploit saw them double their score.

It was, nevertheless, Salford who finished the half with two further scores to put themselves comfortably in control, 8-30, at half time.

That comfort might have been just a little too much so, as things began to unfold in the second half.  As one might have expected, the home side used the interval to regroup, and they returned to the fray with much greater determination than they had been able to muster in the opening forty minutes.  In the face of this, and coupled with one or two changes of personnel, the Salford side began to lose their way a little.

The absolutely clinical way in which they had put away every clear-cut opportunity was suddenly missing, and they also began to lose a little composure, possibly as a result of frustration, and, after a period with each side vying for superiority, it was Warrington who broke the deadlock, though still without the extras from a conversion which might, otherwise, have caused some rather greater concern in the Red Devils’ ranks.

A return to basics and the hard graft of the early stages of the first half was called for, and this gradually rebuilt the composure and confidence needed.  The final period belonged totally to the Reds, and they exploited it to the full, with tries coming thick and fast to keep the scoreboard turning over, right up to the final whistle.

SALFORD SCORERS

TRIES:  Jack Kenway (2), Mike Los (2), Ben Wharton, Jack Stevens, Alec Walton, Charlie McManus, Lucas Prescott

GOALS:  Jack Kenway (8)

SALFORD TEAM:

Morgan Kelly, Clifford Howard, Michael Loss, Ben Wharton, Alec Walton, Charlie McManus, Jack Stevens, Kal Barker, Owen Turner, Tom Hunter, Lucas Prescott, Jack Kenway, Josh Connolly

REPLACEMENTS:

Billy Wadeson, Callum Hughes, Lucas Coan, Nathan Connell

LAUNCH OF SALFORD’S ‘BUILDING THE FUTURE’ BLUEPRINT

Off the back of its launch during our community spotlight week, Salford Red Devils are excited to kickstart our ‘Building the Future’ (BTF) blueprint. 

The launch of BTF will create exciting partnerships with community clubs and schools, with the aim to promote the club and the sport of rugby league in general.

There are a total of seven communities clubs involved in BTF – Salford City Roosters, Langworthy Reds, Folly Lane, Cadishead Rhinos, Bury Broncos, Westhoughton Lions and South Trafford Raiders.

Each club has been designated a number of player ambassadors, who will throughout the season come down to training sessions to work with the community clubs, with head coach Richard Marshall and assistant head coach Danny Orr also getting involved.

Salford Red Devils Foundation have and will play an important role in BTF, offering England Talent Pathway (ETP) sessions to kids in the area, amongst other opportunities.

As well as community club involvement, BTF will also work in conjunction with schools across Greater Manchester with benefits like player visits and curriculum support.

Speaking on the launch of BTF, Salford Red Devils director Paul Trainor said: “I am delighted with the launch of the Building the Future strategy, which will create exciting partnerships with community clubs and schools to promote the club and the sport of rugby league.

“At the heart of this strategy is increasing participation and engagement with rugby league, whilst providing opportunities for the best talent from across the region to move onto a pathway to represent the club in Super League. The club, working alongside the Salford Red Devils Foundation, is excited to work with our community clubs and schools to deliver on our 4 key themes of the strategy – Engagement, Inspiration, Performance, Relationships.

“I am particularly excited to see our School Partner programme, where schools across Greater Manchester can benefit from coaching, player visits, training for school staff, curriculum support, access to our ‘School of the Month’ competition as well as other benefits. Headteachers will receive more details through an email in the next few days.”

Director of rugby and operations, Ian Blease said: “Our current focus is to give as much recourse as we can to our hard working and talented community clubs and to help nurture Salford’s talented youngsters, whilst making a positive impact through the quality and commitment of our delivery.

Salford Red Devils are a club to be proud of and this is a clear indication of planning for the future and recognising the single most important part of any club, which is the community.”

Head of rugby, talent and pathways, Paul Rowley, added: “The direction and focus of any business is a reflection of its leaders and in Paul King, the board and Ian Blease there is a clear and passionate directive to enhance the relationships with community clubs and ensure more opportunities for the young people of Salford.

“The experience and talent within our community is very evident, and in the short time I’ve been involved it’s been great to have genuine chats about all things rugby with individuals at each club.”

Salford Red Devils Foundation director Neil Blackburn added: “After delivering the ETP programme for the past number of years, the foundation has ensured local talent has been given the platform to showcase their abilities under the Red Devils’ banner.

With the launch of the new BTF strategy, the programme of delivery is revitalised and extended to further enhance Salford Red Devils’ reach within the local community and Greater Manchester wide. It is an exciting time to be an aspiring young athlete in the Salford area and I cannot wait for our team to get back into the community delivering engaging, safe and fun physical activities.”

Offload programme highlighted as a sporting sensation in recent major study

Rugby League Cares’ health programme Offload – which Salford Red Devils are a founding member of – has been praised for its engagement with men and mental wellbeing, in a major academic study.

The research, carried out by Edge Hill University, can be found here and outlines the programme’s success in changing and saving lives, providing the men involved with a welcoming space to talk about their mental health.

Salford Red Devils Foundation are partnered with Rugby League Cares and State of Mind, who also support Offload, to give local men the opportunity to go behind the scenes of rugby league, learn the mental fitness techniques of professional players and be supported to develop their own winning mindset.

Offload is a 10-fixture season at the A J Bell stadium where men join forces with rugby league players, past and present, to understand the challenges of the game. The ability to deal with injury, moving to a new club, tactical changes, retirement and new careers beyond the game are discussed along with a player’s ability to juggle the everyday demands of life whilst performing at the top level.

Speaking on the Offload programme, Salford Red Devils foundation director Neil Blackburn said: This programme has been extremely successful and really made a substantial difference to our local community. We have engaged with hundreds of men who would not have engaged with traditional medicalised institutions. It has been a pleasure working with RLCares and other partners on this highly rewarding programme.

Our physical and mental health is so important, especially in such uncertain times. Programmes such as Offload are an essential part of the local provision an enhance the existing services.”

Sport and physical activity professor at Edge Hill University, Andy Smith, one of the three researchers into the Offload programme, said: “There has been a rapid growth in community sport and mental health programmes for men, but the key design characteristics of these programmes, and the roles played by delivery staff in their conception and development, have not yet been systematically or widely studied. Our research on the Offload programme begins to rectify this.

“Among other things, our analysis showed that men clearly preferred a non-clinical approach to discussing their mental health, often in less stigmatising environments like professional sports stadia, and using sporting analogies to support self-care.

“Having the sessions led by former professional sports people working alongside mental health and community sport experts made it a safe space and allowed participants to express themselves fully. This, in turn, provided great outcomes for the men involved.”

One participant in the programme said: “Some of them [the presenters] are people I’ve admired because I am a rugby league fan. When I’ve seen what they’ve been through, it made it easier for me to offload my problems in front of a few people, which I wouldn’t have done before.”

Emma Goldsmith, head of community at Rugby League Cares, said: “The power sport has to transform the lives of participants is well documented but the success we have seen in making transformational change to the quality of life of the men who have engaged in Offload is remarkable.

Offload is enabling us to connect with an audience that health service providers have traditionally found difficult to reach: the feedback we receive from participants is consistently positive and uplifting, and it’s a privilege for everyone at RL Cares to know we’re making such a difference.”

To find out more on how to get involved in Salford’s Offload programmes, email: joanne.shepherd@salfordcc.ac.uk.

Aspey – “I made sure I gave everything one hundred percent”

Salford Red Devils youngster Connor Aspey has signed a one-year deal with the first team following his two-month trial. 

A product of the youth system, Aspey has signed for the 2021 Betfred Super League season following a two-month trial funded by the Supporters’ Trust and is pleased his efforts have paid off.

The 18-year-old said: “I just had the mentality to do my best in everything that I did.

“I couldn’t be slacking on anything, even if it’s just jogging in or getting onside. I made sure I gave everything one hundred percent.”

Despite the hard work that has been required from him, Aspey is enjoying preseason under new head coach Richard Marshall and the Club’s new head of Strength & Conditioning Gareth Whittaker.

“It’s been good but tough, especially with Gaz (Gareth) coming in, the new conditioner, it’s quite different from what we’ve been used to,” Aspey added.

“Rich really cracks down on your skill, so he’s getting all of us better with the ball.”

The hooker also spoke about how training with the more experienced players has helped him improve his game.

Aspey said: “It’s good having them there, especially if you need to ask something or you need tipping up on something they’ll always help.

“Especially Andy Ackers as well, he’s obviously a hooker like myself and he’s always giving me little tips and helping me out along the way.”

With Paul Rowley appointed as the Club’s first head of rugby development, talent & pathways recently, the focus is on seeing more young, local players break into the first team.

Coming through the academy ran by Salford Red Devils Foundation before stepping into the reserves grade in 2020, Aspey is a prime example of how Salford are investing in youth following the signing of his contract.

“I think it’s important to get that youth up and going, a lot of young lads go missing.

“I just think the youngsters like myself need to work our hardest, do the best we can and show what we’ve got when we play.”

The hooker made his debut for Salford against Hull Kingston Rovers in Super League last season and is hoping to build on that in 2021.

Aspey added: “I just want to get some appearances, especially in Super League this year.

“I want to get some games under my belt and show people what I can do.”

Adrian Morley becomes Foundation trustee

Salford Red Devils Foundation is delighted to welcome Adrian Morley and George Tapp to their Board of Trustees.

The Foundation is always looking for opportunities to strengthen its local links and to ensure that the local community are best served by the organisation.

The first new trustee, Adrian Morley, is a prominent figure within the rugby league world both in Australia and the UK. As a legend of the game and a successful businessman, Morley is well placed to help guide the Foundation as it embarks on new and exciting programmes to help the local community.

Morley said: “Coming from the area and being a very proud Salfordian, I’m delighted to be a part of the foundation.

“The more Salford kids we can get playing the sport, the better. Fingers crossed there’s a few rough diamonds out there that we can help to bring through.

“All the donations and fundraisers are very much appreciated and we just couldn’t function without these generous people so please keep donating.”

The second new trustee is George Tapp who is a former Salford City Councillor for the Ordsall ward who continues to make an impact in the Salford area through his involvement with employment and the Unite trade union. George is passionate about providing opportunities for Salford residents and has much experience of local infrastructure that will benefit the Foundation.

Tapp said: “As a lifelong Salford RLFC supporter and proud Salfordian, I am extremely proud and excited to be joining the Board of Trustees on the Salford Red Devils Foundation.

“I look forward to playing my part in raising awareness of the Foundation and helping to source income to ensure that the fantastic programmes can continue.”

These new trustees bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience and have expressed their excitement at joining the team. In such unprecedented times it has never been more important for Salford Red Devils Foundation to continue to deliver its array of outstanding community programmes in Salford and across Greater Manchester.

Both new trustees have unmatched local knowledge and can help to ensure the maximum impact is achieved within the local community. Salford Red Devils Foundation would like to thank the whole Board of Trustees for their continued support and guidance as it continues to inspire the community through Sport, Health and Education.

Foundation Director Neil Blackburn said: “I am thrilled to welcome both trustees to a board that is already filled with a wealth of experience that has helped ensure Salford Red Devils Foundation has been able to service its community for over a decade.

“Ensuring that we have passionate, locally-based trustees guarantees that all our programmes and initiatives are fully focused on providing opportunities for the local needs and I look forward to working with both George and Adrian.”

Echoing Adrian Morley, it is important to thank all our funders and donors who continue to help us provide outstanding community programmes for all that help reduce disparity, ensuring that the most vulnerable in society are given the opportunities and support they deserve and need.

If you would like to donate, sponsor or engage directly with Salford Red Devils Foundation please contact Foundation Director Neil.Blackburn@srdfoundation.co.uk.

Find us on twitter

Find us on Instagram

Sign up to the official newsletter