Coaches, players and staff at Leicester Storm Rugby League Club recently took time out to learn about the risks involved with smoking, as part of a new community partnership with the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust Stop Smoking Service.

Advisers from the Stop Smoking Service attended the club’s temporary Saffron Lane training base to conduct a special awareness session, with Leicester Storm’s players discovering more about the health risks, physical changes and economic effects that smoking can have on individuals.

As part of this year’s Balls to Stop campaign, which utilises the power of sport to raise awareness of the county’s Stop Smoking Service, Leicester Storm have been recruited as Community Partners, so as to generate further awareness within the Leicestershire community of the free help on offer to people wishing to quit smoking for good.

With Leicester Storm’s players and staff heading regularly into schools and colleges to deliver community training sessions to spread the word of the league code in the area, the knowledge obtained during the course of the awareness session will provide coaches with the ability to advise any participants that smoke how best to kick the habit for good, encouraging those individuals to get in touch with the Stop Smoking Service.

Ty Watson, Chairman of Leicester Storm Rugby League Club, was one of the people in attendance and said:

“We’re very proud to be partnering the Stop Smoking Service this year. The Balls to Stop campaign is something that we were aware of last year – and we were very keen to get involved.

“As a community club, we have very strong ties to recreational sportsmen and women across the county and if we’re able to provide a little bit of help or advice that can help a person quit smoking, then we’ll be delighted.

“The awareness session was certainly beneficial. There’s an awful lot that’s publicised about the risks associated with smoking, but some of the things we found out through Ann, the Service’s adviser who conducted the session, really surprised us. I’m sure it will be the same for people that we pass that information on to.

“I’d like to thank Ann and the Stop Smoking Service for choosing to work with Leicester Storm this year, and for taking the time out to speak to a selection of our players and coaches. I hope it’s something we can do on a larger scale once the new season gets underway.”

Leicester Storm RL join Leicester Hockey Club as Balls to Stop Community Partners this year, whilst individual ambassadors for the campaign include boxing hero Rendall Munroe, Rugby World Cup winner Neil Back and former Leicester City centre-back Gerry Taggart.