Mancunians Rugby League club have confirmed that they are set to extend their reach into five new areas of Manchester.
The club, which is community owned, has formed five new community sports clubs around the city, in partnership with key local community organisations and volunteers.
The clubs, whose main focus will be on children, will offer three sports: handball, dodgeball and rugby league.
From this month,people in these areas will have the chance to receive high class sports coaching, coach education, employment opportunities and take part in regular competitive sport against the other clubs under the Mancunians umbrella.
All five new clubs will take part in a series of festivals in their individual sports, effectively creating a Manchester ‘league’ in each of the three sports for the first time.
Each ‘Hub’ site is situated at either an existing community sports facility, or a High School and will offer top class training and playing facilities on the doorsteps of the people who live in those communities.
“When Mancunians was created seven years ago, the vision was to have a multi-sports club that would support a professional rugby league club, similar in nature to sports clubs in Europe so it is very satisfying to see that vision begin to be realised,” said club director Stefan Hopewell.
“Our experiences since 2009 show that, outside of schools, there is very little formal structure to any of our key sports in the city of Manchester despite the large amount of fantastic coaching that takes place.
“We’ve taken this experience and created five new clubs in areas which Manchester City Council have identified as being key for strategic regeneration in areas including Housing, Sport and Leisure.
“Our five activity areas mirror Manchester City Council’s city wide regeneration strategy and we are very confident that our plan will be a massive success.
“We’ve done an extensive amount of work researching other successful sporting cities such as Sydney and Penrith in Australia and Rugby League hotbeds such as Wigan and Leeds in the UK.
“We found that their success is down to having a network of vibrant community clubs, which feed into the pyramid structure for that area.
“By creating this structure in Manchester we’re very confident that we’ve set Mancunians and Manchester up to be a massive success and that we will reach our objective as being a semi-professional sports club and to have one thousand participants annually by the year 2020.
“This is a demand-led initiative concentrating on high-quality coaching of a relatively low number of people, not a scattergun approach featuring thousands of people.
“We are using a multi-sport, multi-site, non-traditional, participation model which organisations like Sport England and Street Games recommend as being a model for success and we are very confident that the new clubs, and in turn Mancunians, will be a massive success as a result.”
“We recognise that we may have taken a more difficult, longer term route to success but, we take inspiration from Mancunian legend Anthony H Wilson who said that ‘This is Manchester, we do things differently here’ and we are very proud to be pioneering this approach in Manchester.
“We launched our 20:20 vision strategy this time last year where we forecast that Mancunians would have 1,000 annual participants by the year 2020 and this extension of our offer means that we are already a considerable way towards meeting that target.
“Mancunians can now continue on its path towards semi-professional sport happy in the knowledge that we are building the club on strong, sustainable foundations and that Mancunians is embedded in all parts of the Manchester community not just a small corner of it.”