Swinton Lions RLFC have announced the appointment of a Community Foundation Manager and will also submit plans to the Rugby Football League to establish a Category 3 Academy.
Neil Hayden, a former Lions’ player who has worked in college rugby for 13 years, will join the Swinton Lions Foundation with immediate effect. His main task as Community Foundation Manager will be to engage the Lions with the Swinton and wider Manchester community, including local community clubs, primary schools and secondary schools.
Speaking about his new role with the Foundation, Neil said, “With all the fantastic work and optimism around the town since Andy Mazey became Swinton Chairman, it’s clear that the club is only going in one direction. It will be a privilege to become part of this historic club’s bright future, while sharing and supporting the vision of Andy and the Lions’ Board. I think it’s going to be a fantastic journey, and I will do my utmost to implement programs that will benefit the club for many years to come.”
Swinton will also partner with The Rugby College.
Neil explained, “The Lions will be immediately applying to the RFL to establish a Category 3 Academy. This will be run in partnership with The Rugby College. This will give Head Coach Stuart Littler the option to look at players from our own Swinton Lions Academy side moving forward. The Rugby College is a full time Educational Scholarship where both male and female learners train on a daily basis. Students also attend education lessons at Salford Sports Village. This partnership puts in place a fantastic opportunity for any young player who aspires to play professional Rugby League with Swinton Lions.”
Swinton Chairman Andy Mazey said, “We’re building a long-term sustainable development programme at Swinton Lions. The arrival of Neil to spearhead our Foundation and implement a clear player pathway are further evidence of that philosophy. These are very important developments for the Lions as well as for the town of Swinton and the wider rugby community of Manchester.
“We fully accept and understand that having been away from our home town for 25 years there have been insufficient opportunities for local youngsters to progress through to the Lions’ ranks. Kick-starting the Community Foundation with the ambition of growing our presence locally prior to returning to M27, goes hand in hand with the new player pathway we are establishing. With the support of everyone involved, including the local community clubs, I’m sure that we can achieve our goals.”