Here at Salford Red Devils, the Foundation continues on with the successful delivery of the hugely popular Sky Try initiative after a great first year. The Sky Try programme is made up of the following 4 parts as the sport looks to engage 100,000 young people per year:
- 1- Primary school activity
- 2- High school boy’s activity
- 3- High school girl’s activity
- 4- ‘Big Games Bigger’
Year 1 of the scheme, saw SRDF engage with more than 5000 young people across Salford, Manchester, Trafford and Bury. Core delivery revolves around a term time block of coaching, which is sandwiched by an introductory assembly and finals day.
The Foundation uses this format to engage with existing schools but importantly looks to expand our reach. The aforementioned finals days are delivered via a 9-aside format for both boys and girls. In the case of the boys a 9 aside festival is held at years 7, 8 and 9 of school in each of the areas of Salford, Manchester, Trafford and Bury. The top 2 teams then progress to a ‘Champions League’ format held at the AJ Bell stadium. Regarding the girls, 12+ high schools take part at each age group from across Greater Manchester to produce a champion.
The initial focus is to ensure all participants have a positive experience, but SRD’s strategic aim is to make sure that more school players are playing regular 13 aside competition, but also making the transition to a local community RL club.
Year 2 has seen us expand our offer and deliver a Manchester specific programme in conjunction with our friends at Manchester Rangers. The focus here is the progression of participants from our well established schools programme to the new Belle Vue Bees community rugby league club. This club will run multiple age groups in the NWC league, during 2016, on the back of the partnership’s delivery.
Central to the programme is a desire to give new participants a game day experience at a Super League match or marquee rugby league event. School children and new junior players have taken part in some fantastic opportunities, including visits to the Magic Weekend in Newcastle and appearances at our Red Devils in the Community festivals. Last year, the latter was held over Easter and an additional 1372 young people and their families watched the Red Devils clash with Wigan after playing in a festival. This year the focus event is our match with champions Leeds Rhinos in April.
Finally, the impact on Sky Try on the Red Devils’ innovative U16 Rising Stars Development Programme can’t be underestimated. The club now has a clear pathway for local talent from year 7/ u12s right through to the first team. This journey starts with a Sky Try session and is underpinned by a full coach and teacher education programme to develop the local rugby league network.
For more information about how you, your school or community rugby league club can benefit from the Sky Try initiative, please call a member of the Foundation team on 0161 786 1591