Over the last seven years, Mears has supported the charity in its ambitions to make sport accessible for all and to improve the lives of the people they work with.
We pride ourselves on having a social heart as a leading, socially responsible business – for us giving back to our communities is in our DNA.
Thousands of children in Leeds have benefited from Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s flagship Rugby League Development Plan, which Mears have been proud supporters of since it was introduced in 2013. In that time participation in Rugby League at the grassroots level has grown across the city and is at an all-time high.Community coaches have also been able to access the charity’s coach education sessions which are supported by the Leeds Rhinos coaching staff.
With the support of Mears, women’s Rugby League has received a huge boost over the last three years. The first-ever Leeds Rhinos Women’s team, who won the Super League and Challenge Cup double in 2019, have been sponsored by Mears since their formation and there are now more women and girls playing Rugby League in the city than ever before.
This year Mears will expand their support of women’s sport with the sponsorship of the newly formed Leeds Rhinos Netball team who are set to enter the Vitality Netball Super league for the first time in 2021.
The Leeds Rhinos Foundation makes a positive impact through their relationships and engagement with people in the local community - delivering health initiatives that address issues such as obesity and social isolation and education projects that help young people not in training or employment develop important life skills to improve their chances of finding work. The charity has also led the way in social initiatives such as their ‘Back Onside’ project which sees staff working in local prisons to tackle the issue of re-offending.
In the last two years, Leeds Rhinos Foundation has also launched a Learning Disability and Physical Disability Rugby League teams which have been a phenomenal success in making the game more inclusive and offered players life-changing opportunities and unforgettable moments such as playing at Emerald Headingley and Anfield.
With the recent Covid health crisis, the charity was unable to directly deliver their work in schools, clubs and with community groups. However, Leeds Rhinos Foundation continued to offer support to the city’s school children with weekly health challenges and staff also volunteered to help other charities and organisations with food deliveries to some of the region’s most vulnerable people.
This fantastic partnership has provided thousands of people across Leeds with the opportunity to improve and develop their aspirations, resilience, life-skills and physical well-being through the power of sport.
Dan Busfield, Head of Partnerships and Development at Leeds Rhinos Foundation,said:
“Our partnership with Mears has been so successful over the last seven years as we share key values and care passionately about improving the lives of people in our community.
Through the support of Mears, we have been able to expand our work into different areas and help some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
Encouraging more female tenants into the construction industry is the main social value focus for Mears in Leeds. From plumbing to bricklaying, or buying to bid writing, women remain massively under-represented in the construction industry.
We are looking to increase the number of apprenticeships, employment and training opportunities for its tenants, with women and girls being the main target.
Busfield added: “Their commitment to championing women in sport has been so important to us helping to grow women’s rugby league and now they have extended this further with their sponsorship of the new Leeds Netball team which we are sure will have a big impact in that sport.
“We would like to thank the team at Mears for their valued partnership and sharing our vision that using the power of sport can improve and change people’s lives and we look forward to more exciting opportunities in the future.”
Garry Jamieson, Head of Operations, Mears Group, added:
"The Mears team are delighted to continue our fantastic partnership with Leeds Rhinos Foundation which is a cornerstone of our social value commitments to Leeds City Council.
We share the Foundation’s common goal to improve the lives of the people of Leeds.We see diversity and inclusion as part and parcel of our day to day work and one of the foundation stones that bring Mears values to life.
“We are delighted to continue to support all involved with the Foundation, the double-winning Leeds Rhinos Women’s team and the newly formed Leeds Rhinos Netball team.”