The power of the Broncos’ badge and its ability to inspire people in our community to reach their full potential should never be underestimated.

Engaging with schools and community projects across London via fun and interactive coaching, mentoring and educational Rugby League-based sessions forms part of our regular outreach.

Community Manager John Keyes is the man behind our ambition to provide people living in London with a positive connection with our club through player appearances, club presentations and coaching sessions.

John’s involvement with the Broncos goes back to the start of the millennium, he served as a volunteer in various roles for 15 years before starting his current role in 2016. He now leads the community team delivering our engagement programmes and is also our Player Welfare Officer.

The Broncos Community programme has continued throughout the pandemic, with adjustments, and the team rose to the task to maintain engagement and support. We delivered Key Worker Training Camps in schools and lead various charitable activities.

With the 2021 Rugby League World Cup fast approaching, John anticipates an important year for the Broncos’ community work across London.

“I’m very proud of the work we have done in the last year to maintain the Broncos’ engagement with the community during the pandemic,” said John. “It has been a challenge but one everyone has tackled it head on.

“It is incredibly rewarding inspiring people in our community to lead fit and healthy lifestyles. This year has been unprecedented and so we focused on delivering training camps for the children of key workers to provide some extra help during the pandemic.

“Each year presents unique challenges as we look to engage more people in the city with the Broncos badge. This year is especially important as we have the Rugby League World Cup coming to England in the autumn.

“We already have plans to take our sport into schools across Islington to coincide with one of the competition’s semi-final fixtures at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. We particularly want young people to understand Rugby League and the pathways associated with the sport.

“We’re a family club, and if we can inspire people to make Rugby League their sport of choice then we’ll consider our job well done.”

Photo by David Horn (Prime Media)

John and his team also support the welfare of the Broncos’ players by providing a friendly voice to talk to in addition to facilitating educational programmes that allow players to gain qualifications during their time with the club.

In many cases, players’ courses are funded by Rugby League Cares – a charity that touches on the lives of people involved at every level of Rugby League from junior clubs to current and former players. 

John added: “Rugby League Cares offers outstanding support to our players, only last week we had several players on a Zoom call with a careers coach who discussed the different roles available for players when they decide to retire from playing.

“At the Broncos, supporting players’ pathway to a comfortable and secure retirement is just as important as nurturing youngsters through our academy system to allow them to play professionally.

“It’s been a challenge during the pandemic, but players have settled extremely well and we’re looking forward to supporting and working with them throughout the rest of the season.”

Schools interested in booking a player appearance session when COVID-19 restrictions allow for guest visitors can email John via [email protected].

Keep an eye on our website for part two of our feature with John soon where we will touch more on the positive impact our community team is having on schools across London.