OLDHAM Rugby League Club are offering free admission to local schoolchildren in the coming season in support of a major scheme to help every pupil in the borough to become successful in education, work and life.
“We are proud and privileged to be involved in this bold initiative to benefit Oldham children,” said club chairman Chris Hamilton.
One of 14 pledges made by participating students in a pilot scheme is to attend sporting and creative events — and that’s where the Roughyeds play their part by offering them free admission to Kingstone Press Championship games at Bower Fold, Stalybridge , with accompanying adults charged only £5.
Added Hamilton:” For now, the offer extends to those schools that are in the pilot scheme, but when it is rolled out across the borough later in the year it will be for every child in every school in Oldham.
“It’s good to be involved in such a major and worthwhile initiative. And we feel sure that students will enjoy watching Roughyeds in action at Bower Fold.”
The scheme will apply to any home league game this season, starting with Sheffield Eagles on Sunday, February 5, although certain games will be targeted by the club as ‘Oldham Pledge’ days when children and their adults will be actively encouraged to attend.
Anyone interested should approach their pledge co-ordinator in school.
Lorna Phillip, assistant principal at Hathershaw College and one of the professionals behind the Scheme, said: “Oldham RLFC always do their best to support children in Oldham.
“Their involvement will benefit both young people and the club.”
To support the work of Oldham Education and Skills Commission, a group of colleagues from a range of different local organisations have been working together to co-ordinate and develop ‘The Oldham Offer’, which will aim to ensure that Oldham’s children and young people are school ready, life ready, work ready.
All Oldham Education establishments will hopefully sign up for ‘The Oldham Offer’ in September, but Crompton House, Hathershaw College and four primaries, Coppice, Roundthorn, Whitegate End and St Matthew’s are already in the pilot scheme, which will evaluate it before the borough-wide launch.
The Oldham Offer has 14 pledges which, if completed, will ensure that every young person gets the opportunity to develop character traits, a point highlighted by Nicky Morgan (Secretary of state for Education)
A host of local businesses and providers have begun to make offers to assist the young people of Oldham in fulfilling these pledges.
Thanks to the work of their community development officer, Rob Roberts, a former club captain, Oldham RLFC are already active in many local schools and are also forming partnerships now with a couple of primaries in Tameside, not far from Stalybridge Celtic’s ground on Mottram Road, Stalybridge where Roughyeds will be playing their home games in 2017.
A lot of the work done by ‘Two Bobs’ (Roberts) has been in schools that are in the Hathershaw Sports Cluster and these schools will be playing curtain-raisers at selected matches throughout the season.
NEARLY 80 children from a mixed ethnic background, many of them supported by parents and relatives, will be at Bower Fold, Stalybridge on Sunday to watch their first rugby league game between Oldham RLFC and Leigh Centurions.
Six teams of 13, two from Greenhill and one each from Westwood, Alt, St Patrick’s and Werneth primary schools will take part in a tag-rugby curtain-raiser.
There will be too many children to walk out with the Roughyeds’ team, but they will line up to welcome Scott Naylor’s boys on to the pitch before doing a lap of honour at half-time.
Said club chairman Chris Hamilton: “It will be fantastic to see so many children at the game from local primary schools. We are looking forward to welcoming them.
“It’s an endorsement of the work the club is doing in the community and it will be fantastic to see children who are not traditionally brought up in rugby league having a good time playing the best sport in the world.”
The primary schools involved form the Hathershaw College sports cluster and Hathershaw is no stranger to Oldham RLFC, regularly providing its pupils as ball boys and ball girls on match days.
Danny Newall, the club’s community coach, has been going into the schools regularly for the past few months, introducing the children to the oval ball and to tag rugby.
Tournaments were held at Hathershaw, followed by finals nights at Whitebank Stadium, which remains the club’s base even though games are now played at Bower Fold, Stalybridge.
Said Lorna Phillip, assistant principal at Hathershaw, who is heavily involved in the sports cluster: “The children absolutely love their tag-rugby. Thanks to Danny (Newall) and the Oldham club, we’ve had some brilliant tournaments involving the various schools and we promised the children we would take them to an Oldham game.
“Most of them have never seen a rugby league game or visited a proper stadium. They are really excited.
“Several of their teachers and head teachers have also developed an interest in what we’re doing and we expect some of them to come to the game as well as parents and other relatives.
“It will be a fantastic experience for these children.”
Also at the game will be Kelly Mayers and a group of children from Urban Angels, a dance group from Limeside who use Whitebank as their training base. Backed by their mascot, Foxy, they will have a bucket collection to raise funds for their next two competitions. ahead of an appearance at Bower Fold before the end of the season when they will do a routine on the pitch.
Said Chris Hamilton: “Kelly and her team do a fantastic job with up to 50 children, teaching them dance and entering them in competitions up and down the country. We’ll be delighted to see them on Sunday and to have them back before the end of the season to show us a few routines.”
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