Fans Forum Meeting Wednesday 29th March

Here are the minutes from the last Fans Forum meeting, which saw Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s health improvement officer Laura Buckle attend and give an insight into her role.

Attendees: Sue Millard, Gerry Alleyn, Rachel Barker, Jon Williams, Danny Frank, Sam Brightbart, David Muhl, Christian Floyd.

Apologies: Simon Whitehead, Alistair Senior, Barbara Senior


Guest for the Evening: –

Health Improvement Officer – Leeds Rhinos Foundation

Laura Buckle


Meeting Dates for 2017

  • Wednesday 26th April at 7pm (Group)
  • Wednesday 28th June at 7pm (Carnegie)
  • Wednesday 26th July at 7pm (Rhinos)
  • Wednesday 25th October at 7pm (Carnegie)
  • Wednesday 22nd November at 7pm (Rhinos)
  • Wednesday 13th December at 7pm (Group)

After four years on the Fans Forum, Rachel Barker is leaving the group due to personal

circumstances. We wish Rachel all the best for the future and thank her for participation since the Fans Forum was originally introduced. Rachel will remain a dedicated South Stander and will still be happy to communicate feedback from fans who may see her on the terraces at Headingley

Carnegie Stadium – Thank you Rachel!


Overview from Laura Buckle on her role:

Laura has been with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation since November 2016. Laura manages the health sector of the Foundation which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of fans and people in the community. Her role at present is to manage public health initiatives through various funding mechanisms under the Leeds Rhinos Foundation brand.

Laura did a degree at Sheffield University in Public Health and Nutrition and when she left University went on to volunteer for the Health and Weight Management service in Hull. This led to a full-time position and then she went onto work at the Sheffield Health and Weight Management service. This has then led her up to Leeds to join the Leeds Rhinos Foundation team.

Below is a summary of the projects that Laura is undertaking as part of her role within the Leeds Rhinos Foundation: –


Try Club – a 12 free week weight management programme (based at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium and out in the community in local venues) is built around making realistic long term lifestyle changes for men with a BMI of 25+ across Leeds. Each week participants engage in a 45-minute nutrition interactive workshop followed by a circuit based physical activity session with the view to build lean muscle mass, reduce body fat and establish a home-based exercise routine. There is ongoing support after the 12-week programme with free touch rugby sessions running each week at the stadium.


In – Touch Dementia support group – A group supported by Leeds City Council’s Adult Social care where the group enjoy monthly visits to the stadium to discuss rugby past and presence whilst reminiscing with friends, peers and staff over footage, photographs, memorabilia and tales from guest speakers. Each session is themed around a topic of relevance allowing the group to share stories and memories of happy times.


Active Social – a physical activity group for older adults who meet each Tuesday to try a different exercise taster session each week with likeminded peers. The group meet for teas and coffees at the stadium each week, enjoy a catch up before sampling a session provided by a local instructor surrounding a different form of movement. The group have enjoyed tai chi, tap dancing, yoga, walking netball to name but a few to date. Taster sessions are provided through feedback from the group on what they would like to try, the group costs £2.


CanRehab – In partnership with Yorkshire Cancer Research, Leeds Rhinos Foundation are running sessions for those affected by cancer in Leeds. Th
e pilot stage will be aimed at women affected by cancer who want to increase their level of fitness and improve lifestyle factors. (Further sessions will be run for other demographic groups). The programme will run from Xercise 4 Less in Seacroft offering participants weekly activity sessions, including taster "Strictly" type classes, mindfulness techniques and guest speakers who have experienced cancer themselves. The programme is free and open to all residents of Leeds.


To find out a bit more about the great work that Leeds Rhinos Foundation carry out, check it out at

If you would like to know more about the projects that Laura is involved in then please email [email protected].


Feedback from Rachel Barker – Fans Forum Member: –

  • Loved the light show for the opening home game of the season and obviously, the pre-match entertainment (opera man!) was enjoyed by everyone I spoke to!


Sian: Thank you for the feedback – glad to hear it!


Feedback from Gerry Alleyn – Fans Forum Member: –

  • Got several comments about Gary’s letter to the fans. Everyone seemed delighted that he chose to send that letter, involving and informing fans about the club’s attitude to the very poor performance at Cas. It seems to have done the trick with the coaches and team.


Sian: Thank you for the feedback Gerry – am pleased to hear it was well received by the fans.


Feedback from David Muhl – Fans Forum Member: –

  • As part of my role on the Fans Forum, I have been put in touch with the RFL about supporting their planning for the new allocation of wheelchair spaces at Old Trafford ahead of the Grand Final. I am helping to consult on how to ensure a positive experience for wheelchair users visiting RFL events. I will feedback once I have attended my first meeting next week.

Sian: Thanks David – this is great news that you will be getting involved as part of the Leeds Rhinos Fans Forum to support the RFL. Definitely keep us posted on the outcomes.


  • I have a bit of feedback around the Rhinos programme, don’t know if that’s an issue we you can look at. It’s about the font size and the background. Following the discussion, the other month at the meeting we had I was surprised how few folk said they bought the programme so I asked around people both where I sit and also in the pub and nearly everyone who said they didn’t get it anymore said it was because the print was so small and the background colour made it really difficult to read. I must admit I do find it difficult to read and only read it at home now not at the match.

Sian: I have spoken to Leanne Flynn (Communications Manager) and she is working with our programme designers as she is in agreement with you with regards to the layout.


  • The second bit of feedback is about some of the behaviour of fans. I’m getting a lot of feedback from folk who think drunken behaviour is getting worse at matches, not horrendous but deteriorating, I have to be honest and say I’ve not noticed it much but many folk have commented that it’s getting worse and they feel that when they’ve seen it the “culprits” tend to be those with the 2 pint pots of beer.  The question I am being asked is is there really a need to sell in two pint glasses? I appreciate there’s financial incentives to sell more beer but I’ve had reports of beer being spilt over people and lewd behaviour, whether this would be reduced if we only sold in one pint pots is debateable. Unfortunately, when I have asked if they have reported it to stewards I got “no” on every occasion so from that point of view I have little sympathy!

Sian: Thank you for the feedback – I will put this forward at our next pre-match operations meeting for discussion. It is difficult to link it directly to the ‘two pint’ glasses and this is more to do with reducing the queues at the bar and the frequency of times fans need to visit the bar on a match day. I will mention this and also the feedback about staff being extra vigilant when serving fans who are potentially already intoxicated.


Feedback from Mark Jowett – Leeds Rhinos Season Ticket Holder: –

  • My daughter & myself are both silver season ticket holders & decided to go the Giants away game tomorrow night.

I phoned at 9am yesterday (Weds) for tickets which I purchased but had to go to Headingley to collect them as I was told it was too late to post etc. even though it was over 48 hours before kick-off.

I would have thought in this day & digital age there would be a better solution – E tickets I could print myself or guaranteed next day delivery? Seems archaic to have to travel to the ground to get them.


Sian: Thank you for your feedback Mark. When we sell tickets for our games away at other clubs, you need to be mindful that we don’t all operate via the same ticketing system – each club has their own ticketing system, infrastructure, stadium access and set up therefore to address your first point about ‘print @ home’ tickets for away matches, this isn’t feasible. The only way we can sell tickets for these stadiums is to receive physical batches of the away club’s tickets which we in turn sell to our fans. We act as a seller for these tickets and across the Super League, whatever we sell for our away games, we receive 25% commission.

As a club, we offer one postage option and over the years have worked out a postage deadline which we are sure guarantees all tickets will arrive in time for matches. We have had issues with tickets failing to arrive the closer to matches we post them and therefore this requires us to request re-prints from opposition clubs which need to be collected on the day. Not all clubs offer this option and sometimes comes in at an additional charge. We do always offer the option for fans to either collect from Headingley Carnegie Stadium or from the away ground on match day.

We as a club feel, that it is unnecessary to offer an additional ‘next day’ postage option because we offer the option of collection from the away ground on match day.


Feedback from Joseph McGuinness – Leeds Rhinos Season Ticket Holder: –

  • Would it not be possible to allow Rhinos for life members to be able to add this to any transaction such as online purchases?


Sian: Thank you for your feedback Joseph. I am afraid we are unable to manage the process at present as we don’t have the system functionality to do so. Rhinos 4 Life is on a totally separate system to our ticketing system and our retail system and as it stands it isn’t something on the priority list. We are looking to install a new retail system over the next year but I can’t guarantee when that will be.

You can obtain your discount over the phone aswell – I know it isn’t the perfect scenario however this would be another way to obtain the discount on an order if you cannot attend the store.

Feedback from Emma Watson – Leeds Rhinos Season Ticket Holder: –

  • My partner, son and I are season ticket holders. We went through the multiple trips before the start of this season sorting new (and more expensive) tickets to site us in the NS, to then have to re-arrange to have tickets for the SS. All tolerable. 

However, I have to say, only a few months in, that I cannot understand why – given Mr Hetherington’s comments that the SS has been condemned, why as season ticket holders we are forced to be packed in home game after home game. In one instance, I was almost refused re-entry having visited the toilet back up to where my partner and son were.

I understand it is important to appeal to a wider audience and the community inclusion events – but can these people (who may or may not have an interest in the actual game) not be ticketed for the West Terrace?

At the Rhinos v Wakefield game my 7 year old was pushed by adults on more than one occasion.


Sian: Thanks for your email Emma. I can confirm, the comment about the South Stand being condemned referred to when it was publicly announced a few years ago, that we were closing areas of it to carry out the works to ensure that it was of a safe standard for fans and so it passed the safety certificate, which it did. We are heading towards a cross roads whereby the safety standard will need to be renewed and further works carried out OR we re-develop the stand. Mr Hetherington was making a point of saying that we don’t want to have to do the works – we want to re-build the South Stand and was purely stating this is the option we want.


The safety of spectators at the ground is paramount to us and the capacity of our terraces is set entirely independently from the club and is stated on our safety certificate. These capacities are set by the Building Control at Leeds City Council and the Safety Advisory Group which is made up of Building Control and representatives from the Emergency Services. Capacities are set based on what is deemed to be safe for the customers – it is not set based purely on the space available and how many people can fit into that space. We never sell to the capacity of the South Stand in fact we always undersell therefore everyone in that stand has more than enough space to stand – unfortunately we are unable to manage that behaviour with each individual unless it is causing upset or is anti-social, therefore we expect fans to work together when standing on the terraces.


On a match day we work closely with the safety team and monitor our capacity levels, adjusting where necessary whilst also closing down the points of access into the centre sections of the stands between no later than 15 minutes before kick-off. This prevents a late influx of fans who enter the ground just before kick-off to access the stand therefore causing congestion in the centre sections. This is potentially what may have happened when you returned from the toilet and couldn’t access. You should have received a pass out ticket which demonstrates that you came from this area and are allowed back in that way.


I would just like to take this opportunity to remind you about the fans phone which is in operation on match day. If you have an issue on a match night then you can text our fans phone which is situated in the stadium control room – this can either be a text or a picture message of the issue you are encountering – the number is 07500 312 832 and it is charged at standard network rate. This will then allow us to get response teams into the area to eradicate the issue.


Ideas from Alistair Senior – Fans Forum Member: –

  • Rhinos Website: –

I think it would be a good idea to periodically choose one player to do a five-minute interview/blog over five days.  They could talk about their routine including diet, preparation, training & match day experience which I'm sure fans would be interested in & by keeping it to five minutes’ fans would find the time to watch.


 Sian: I have spoken to the PR & Media Department and they like the idea. They will look into it for the future.