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Since 2020, Jenna has been a rugby league reporter and presenter on Sky Sports, having worked for the broadcaster at its London HQ since 2013.
She is a key part of Sky Sports’ Super League matchday presentation team and is a passionate supporter of both the sport and RL Cares.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help promote the work of Rugby League Cares, a charity which makes such an important difference to the lives of so many people,” said Jenna.
“In my role at Sky Sports I’ve met many players who have nothing but good things to say about the support they, or their team-mates have received from RL Cares.
“A lot of that support flies under the radar because it can be of a sensitive nature, but it’s important to get the message out that RL Cares is there to help when players need it.
“That’s where I come in as a RL Cares Ambassador and I’m looking forward to using my position in the sport to champion the great work of a great charity.”
Australia-born Jenna has been based in London since joining Sky Sports after previously working for Channel 9 and Fox Sports in Australia before a three-year spell as a freelance reporter in San Francisco.
As part of her role as Official Ambassador, Jenna will help raise the charity’s visibility, both within and outside the sport, assist with fundraising and join RL Cares at key events through the year.
Chris Rostron, the Head of RL Cares, said: “On behalf of the charity’s trustees and officers, I would like to thank Jenna for accepting the invitation to become a RL Cares Ambassador.
“Jenna has made it clear for some time how much she admires what we do, and we are delighted that she is coming on board to help us tell our story to the wider world.”
Set up and administered by the family of former Leeds and Great Britain international full-back Bev Risman OBE, the foundation awards grants in a variety of areas with emphasis on social entrepreneurship, education, sporting endeavour, travel and humanity.
Chris Rostron, the Head of RL Cares, said: “On behalf of the many people the charity helps on a daily basis, I would like to thank the Risman Foundation for this generous donation which will help us continue to make a positive difference to Rugby League communities.
“Bev was an influentual figure behind the establishment of Rugby League Cares and it was his vision and passion that led to the charity becoming so important to the lives of so many people.
“The Risman name runs through our DNA in lots of ways, not least through the Rugby League Hall of Fame whose inductees include Bev’s father, the late, great Gus Risman, and this donation cements our relationship.
“We are hugely appreciative of the continued support of Bev and his family.”
Having spent most of their adult lives as a professional Rugby League player, retirement in their early-30s seems a strange concept and one that many struggle to come to terms with.
The independent charity Rugby League Cares works hard with players to help them find successful and rewarding new careers once their playing days are over.
And this weekend (September 10-11), in a new initiative, RL Cares will give players the opportunity to walk off into the sunset, literally, in a special celebration event for retiring or recently retired Rugby League stars.
The Warriors Walk is a player-only two-day get together at which former players will rekindle some of the friendships forged on the field and enjoy once again the unique banter and camaraderie that was such a strong feature of their playing careers.
The group includes ex-Leeds players Kylie Leuluai and Lee Smith, former Warrington duo Paul Cullen and Paul Woods, current Wakefield Trinity welfare manager Stu Dickens, ex-Huddersfield player Larne Patrick, former Hull FC prop Jamie Thackray, ex-Salford, Castleford and Hull KR player Lee Jewitt and former Batley and Halifax prop Keegan Hirst.
The highlight of the weekend is the Warriors Walk itself, which will see the group tackle the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks of Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside on Saturday.
The players will also spend two nights together receiving advice and information from a range of presenters to help them make a successful transition.
RL Cares Transition Manager Francis Stephenson, who is leading the weekend, said: “This is the first in what we hope will be an annual Warriors Walk and there’s lots of buzz about the activities we have planned.
“I know from my own experience that retiring from playing is never easy and it often feels like a damp squib.
“The Warriors Walk sets out to bring together retiring and recently retired player who are going through, or who have gone through, the same experience and to share with them information and advice so they can be as successful away from the pitch as they were on it.
“We also want to go give them a good time and a weekend to remember: the walk is a bit of a challenge, and players love challenges!”
Many of the players on the Warriors Walk will also be raising funds for Rugby League Cares: you can sponsor any of the players via their Justgiving page
Having cycled offroad from the sport’s northern heartland to the Challenge Cup final in each of the last three years, the independent charity’s supporters have raised almost £100,000 on the Ride to Wembley.
But in a year which sees Super League take on a new global identity with the arrival of Toronto Wolfpack, RL Cares is following suit with an amazing North American adventure: the Empire State 500.
On Friday May 1, 20 riders will fly out from Manchester airport bound for Toronto, where they will attend the Super League fixture between the Wolfpack and champions St Helens the following day.
After the game, the riders travel to Niagara Falls, from where they depart on Sunday morning on a 500-mile off-road cycle ride of a lifetime to New York city.
Over the next six days, they will pass through the homelands of the Iroquois nation along the historic Erie Canal and brave the deep forests along the Apalachian trail, home to wild black bears, porcupines, skunk and racoons.
The ride concludes on the afternoon of Friday May 8, when the riders arrive in the evocative Central Park in the heart of Manhattan.
Head of RL Cares Chris Rostron said: “The Empire State 500 is going to be one tough, exciting and unforgettable experience for everyone who takes part.
“Building on the success of Ride to Wembley, we wanted to create a challenge that reflected the pioneering spirit of Rugby League, and the Empire State 500 does just that.
“With Toronto coming into Super League and a New York club set to enter the Championships in the next couple of years, the timing could not be better.
“Although we’re riding on a different continent, the Empire State 500 will share the same three goals as Ride to Wembley: to raise the profile of RL Cares and its work; to give riders and the ride sponsors a positive and enjoyable experience; and to raise as much money as possible for the charity.”
RL Cares has a number of corporate and sponsorship opportunities within the Empire State 500, including the chance to join this fantastic fundraising challenge. If you are interested in supporting the ride, please contact Chris Rostron via firstname.lastname@example.org
If only the answer was as easy to put into six words…
As an independent charity, we act in the best interests of every section of Rugby League, from the children passing a ball for the first time at junior clubs, through to the heroes who thrill crowds and TV audiences on a weekly basis, and on to the legends of yesteryear, whose exploits are woven into the very fabric of the sport.
Looking back on 2019, even we have been amazed by the scope of our work and the number of people whose lives we have touched.
Our big focus this year has been delivering welfare services to the game’s most important stakeholders, the players. We’ve made some big appointments since January, including the sport’s first-ever Transition Manager in Steve McCormack, who has made a massive difference.
Players are now fully supported and encouraged to make plans for a working life away from rugby, and protected by a support network that aims to offset many of the disadvantages they face as professional athletes.
Working with our sister charity, the RL Benevolent Fund, we have been there for the bad times when tragedy strikes, both on the field and off it, supporting the families who have lost a loved one.
Our grants team are bringing unprecedented levels of funding into the sport from outside agencies and companies, all of whom recognise the value of our work.
Their efforts, aligned to our ongoing fundraising campaigns, have helped us generate £1.2m to spend across a sport that remains as special today as it was when it was born 125 years ago.
We have continued to catalogue and preserve Rugby League’s official collections at Heritage Quay within the University of Huddersfield, and are still working hard to realise our ambition to open a world class National RL Museum. Watch this space!
As we approach the end of what has been a momentous year for the team at Rugby League Cares, the infographic above provides a snapshot which goes some way to explaining what the charity is all about.
We do so much more, but we couldn’t do what we do without the support of so many people: to all of you who have supported our work in 2019, a massive ‘thank you’!
Happy New Year everyone.