Rhinos stars feature on new song with local school children

Rhinos players Josh Walters, Stevie Ward and Ashton Golding have joined Leeds Rhinos Foundation in giving their backing to Leeds City Council’s Domestic Violence Service and their city wide ‘Get Comfortable Talking About It’ campaign, which aims to remove the stigma away from Domestic Violence.

 As part of a project led by Class Dynamix, the Rhinos trio were asked to show off their rapping skills and become popstars for the day to record vocals on an original song ‘Turn on the Lights’ written by Danny Gough, founder of Class Dynamix. The song highlights the issue of domestic violence through the positive message of ‘healthy relationships’.  Fans got to see the video on the big screen at the recent Rhinos game against Hull KR as part of a performance with over 120 school children from six of Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Ambassador Schools.  

Over the last school term the Year 5 and 6 pupils from Middleton St Mary’s, Middleton Primary, Sharp Lane Primary, Windmill Primary, Low Road Primary and Shakespeare Primary have all been rehearsing the song as part of the collaborative project involving Behind Closed Doors, Class Dynamix, Family Valued, Child Friendly Leeds, Leeds City Council and Leeds Rhinos Foundation. They all came together to perform the song for the first time at the Leeds Rhinos v Hull KR game.

Class Dynamix were founded in 2014 and deliver dynamic workshops and powerful performances of their catchy songs across Leeds to inspire, empower and unite young people and communities. They raise awareness of the big issues affecting society today, such as bullying, obesity, domestic violence and diversity.

Speaking about their support for the campaign Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Dan Busfield said: “Domestic Violence occurs in many local communities across the country and can be a tough subject to discuss, but in Leeds we want people to be comfortable talking about the issue which may be the first step in confronting it. We are proud to support our partners at Leeds City Council and Behind Closed Doors and we would like to thank all the schools for working so hard on this.”

Stevie Ward added: “We all really enjoyed recording the song and then seeing the outstanding performance from the choir at the game.  Music can help break down barriers so I think this is a really innovative way of tackling difficult subjects and opening up a dialogue and we were all pleased to play our part.”

Jane Thoy, PARS Development Co-ordinator with Behind Closed Doors, who deliver Healthy Relationship Workshops, with a domestic violence and abuse prevention theme, in 26 Leeds Primary schools at Key Stages 1 and said: “Behind Closed Doors is delighted that its primary school Healthy Relationship Workshop programme is linked to ‘Turn on the Lights’, the song produced by Class Dynamix and showcased at the Leeds Rhinos match.  Over 120 enthusiastic local school children gave a powerful performance about bringing the issue of domestic violence and abuse into full view so we can all tackle it together.  We can’t tackle it when it remains in the shadows, ‘behind closed doors’ we need to teach and empower our children to expect and enjoy healthy relationships, both their own and within their own families, now and in the future.  Let’s do it!”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member responsible for children and families said: “Witnessing domestic violence and abuse can affect children’s emotional, psychological and physical wellbeing, so we are determined to do everything possible to help everyone affected by domestic violence and abuse in Leeds, including children, to be safe and feel safe. We are very grateful to the support of the Leeds Rhinos Foundation and the players who have given up their time to help raise awareness of domestic violence and what support is available to those affected.”

The video which stars the six Leeds schools and Ward, Golding and Walters can be seen here

Leeds School's will be able to use the song on their premises as part of the "In-School" license funded by Family Valued-Child Friendly Leeds. Contact [email protected] for more info.

‘Get Comfortable Talking About It’

‘Get Comfortable Talking About It’ is a campaign to encourage people to think, talk and ask questions about domestic violence and abuse.

The aim of the campaign is to make sure that Leeds is a city that is comfortable talking about domestic violence and abuse, and to direct people where to get the help they need if they are affected by it.

To do this, the campaign will increase awareness of local support available to people, and better understand some of the challenges and key issues people face.

Leeds Domestic Violence Service offers support to those being abused and also people who are abusive. People can get help and advice from their website at www.leeds.gov.uk/domesticviolence or contact the Leeds Domestic Violence Service 24 hour help line on 0113 2460401. In case of immediate danger people should call 999.