RFL announces plans for new multi-purpose facility in Manchester

The Rugby Football League has submitted a request to the Manchester Council for a new rugby league skills, education and training center based in the city.

The rugby league governing body has identified a site off Gray Mare Lane in Beswick to develop what they call a ‘one-stop-shop’ that will be used by elite players and the community, as well as by young people who live in the region.

This is the first of a number of national centers that RFL calls “OurLeague Life”. They are designed to offer a number of services including education, return to work and employability courses, as well as a host of rugby league related activities and programs. The building permit has been submitted to Manchester Council and is the next step in RFL’s plans to gain a foothold in Manchester ahead of their move to the Etihad campus later this year.

“For 125 years, the Rugby League has brought a wide range of social and economic benefits to communities in the north of England and beyond,” said Tony Sutton of RFL. “It’s a sport with a massive positive social impact – and now we want to make an impact in East Manchester.

“Our life is an exciting concept which we hope will become a local focal point for adult education, training and skills, and a catalyst to stimulate social mobility through sport. As well as providing a new facility for the people of East Manchester, it will be a key educational facility for all England Rugby League teams, such as our men’s, wheelchair and women’s teams. “

RFL is working in partnership with architectural firm Holmes Miller on the Beswick project, which will be OuRLeague Life’s first and main installation. It will also support Manchester City Council’s ‘green and blue’ infrastructure strategy by creating a well-designed and accessible outdoor space at the heart of the local community.

Ryan Holmes, director at Holmes Miller adds: “The submitted plans detail a sports facility doing something markedly different from the status quo. By having elite athletes walk the halls and using the shared facilities alongside local aspiring youngsters, the new center will offer much more than just a place to train.

“Community and supportive development are central to the design of this building. Building on Manchester City Council’s green and blue infrastructure strategy, we want visitors to interact with each other and with the space in a way that promotes cohesion and a collective focus on the positive benefits outdoor space and sports – as the Rugby Football League defends. “

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