THE Rugby Football League has hailed Hunslet’s active commitment to the recently launched Club Diversity Project.
The Parksiders’ newly-installed Chief Executive Neil Hampshire – who was, previously, the south Leeds outfit’s chair for many years – has wasted no time in attracting new members to the board in line with the RFL’s initiative; continuing a century-old tradition at Hunslet who, in 1912, were the first professional Rugby League club to play a black athlete when they signed the American Lucius Banks.
Jackie Kingham has joined the club as a non-executive director, while Richard Jenkins, Alosh Jose and Manu Singh are board consultants.
The RFL’s Inclusion Lead Ben Abberstein enthused: “Hunslet have embraced the Rugby League Club Board Diversity Project with real energy and enthusiasm. The club’s unwavering commitment to inclusion throughout the process is commendable. I am delighted to see the successful recruitment of new skilled and experienced board members and, on behalf of the RFL, look forward to working with the club to help them achieve their ambitions.”
Samuel Kasumu, a co-founder of Inclusive Boards, said: “We are thrilled to have worked with Hunslet RLFC to support their efforts to create a more inclusive and diverse board culture, and would like to thank them for their commitment and enthusiasm for the Board Diversity Project. Congratulations to the new appointees, and we look forward to witnessing the impact that each will have.”
Hampshire said: “Like all clubs, Hunslet aim to diversify and increase our fanbase with a particular emphasis on engaging with our local communities and bringing on the next generation of Hunslet supporters. In addition, we will identify and target new income streams, particularly in the off season, drive increased sponsorship, develop a clear plan to attract new investment and sponsorship, make our website a better experience for users, and improve our digital outreach, including current and new social media platforms. We will, too, develop our approach to provide social investment opportunities and engagement in south Leeds; and we will continue to work with Leeds City Council to maximise our business potential within the South Leeds Stadium complex.
“We believe that, having strengthened our board through these appointments, we can deliver on those commitments. They will be critical in helping take us to the next level and put us in a strong position to meet the challenges of the new IMG grading criteria head on.”
He concluded: “We thank the RFL and Inclusive Boards for their work with us on this project, and for their support in the recruitment process. And I’d especially like to thank our new board members for their enthusiasm and commitment in joining Hunslet at what is a really critical time for both the club and the wider sport in general.”
Local businessman Mark Collin, meanwhile, was announced, earlier this month, as hospitality director in a further positive development for the Betfred League 1 club.