The teams are part of the community club in Birkenshaw, 10 miles from Link Group’s Leeds Hub office in Central Square.
The young women are all from the local area, from a range of backgrounds and schools. Being part of these teams helps them learn to be part of a team while finding their own talents and motivation as individuals, and as part of a community.
The two teams are at different stages of their development journey. The U13s team has 24 players and has played six competitive matches since March 2021. The U11s team will launch a recruitment drive with the support of the Link Group to develop the team and gain more players.
These teams complement the club’s existing boys’ and men’s rugby teams.
The girls were presented with their new kits at a sponsorship event and the deal with the club will also involve funding for facilities, coaching and more.
Link Group is keen to help these young women achieve in sport to embrace gender equality, mental health. It forms a central part of its and through its CSR focus to support education for young people in communities it operates in.
Karl Midl, chief executive officer, Link Fund Solutions, said: “We are proud to see and support young women pioneering gender equity in rugby – a previously male-dominated sport.
“By sponsoring the Birkenshaw Bluedogs girls’ teams, we hope to help these talented individuals find new opportunities they might not have known were available to them.
“We hope these girls will be inspired to continue playing rugby and for some to even become professional players. More and more we are seeing female role models in sports and Link Group is excited to help this group achieve and importantly do something they love.”
Bluedogs coach Bolu Fagborun said: “It is great to see the girls’ teams developing and we’re delighted to have Link Group’s support.
“I am passionate about encouraging girls and young women into sports and give them the support and room to thrive. We want to foster talent regardless of gender and this is a great step towards creating a structure where girls can develop and enjoy their rugby.
“We are looking forward to Link Group sponsoring and supporting the team and see what work we can do to encourage the under 11s team to grow. The team is a great asset to the community and it brings people from all different backgrounds together in a love of rugby.”