We need your votes now for the Leeds Rugby Foundation

The Leeds Rugby Foundation’s ‘Connecting Communities’ Project is through to the semi-finals of The National Lottery Awards 2010 and needs your vote to win.

The Leeds Rugby Foundation’s Connecting Communities Project is one of only ten projects to make it through to the semi-finals in the Best Sports Project category of The National Lottery Awards. The Awards are an annual search to find the UK's favourite Lottery-funded projects, and they recognise and celebrate the difference that Lottery-funded projects make to communities across the UK.

The project has employed three workers with the specific objective to increase the participation of those resident in disadvantaged areas of the Leeds District and contiguous areas, predominantly BME in: wide-ranging sport & physical activities with healthy living objectives; volunteering; coaching qualifications.

It encourages participants to aspire, achieve and improve their life-chances and to increase participation in cross-community activities and events. It is actively engaging girls and young women in sporting activities from which they were previously excluded due to discouragement from within most participating BME families and communities.

Leeds Metropolitan University has been integral to the success of the project. Its role as an educational institution has been key to developing a more thorough awareness and understanding of the BME communities and the barriers they face participating in sport. Students have volunteered to work along side community members and together they have developed sustainable strategies to further enhance the quality of life and physical health and well being of members of the local community.

Paul Rowson, Executive Chairman, Leeds Rugby Foundation, commented, "We are delighted to have reached the semi-final stages. The Leeds Rugby Foundation is committed to delivering sports programmes at grass roots level, teaching citizenship and healthy lifestyle skills while using role models from professional sport to inspire and motivate children from all walks of life. Whether that be re-engaging with socially excluded children & young people or raising money for community sports facilities, we are committed to changing lives through sport."

The winning project in each category will receive national recognition on a star-studded BBC One TV show in early November and, in addition to the Lottery funding they have already received, will receive a £2,000 cash prize to spend on their project.

Voting for the finals starts at 9am on Tuesday 31 May and ends at midday on Monday 20 June. To register your vote for Leeds Rugby Foundation’s Connecting Communities Project call on 0844 836 9722 or log on to