A shopping centre is sponsoring two promising young rugby league players.

The Mall Wood Green is working with London Skolars to support Leighton Ball and Jerome Yates.

The sponsorship from The Mall will help to provide training kit, physio treatment and medical supplies for the two players.

“We are always looking to promote community groups and encourage local talent and London Skolars definitely fits the bill,” says Gwendolyne Lobo, Marketing Manager for The Mall.

“We were hoping to kick-off the partnership properly last year but unfortunately Covid got in the way. However, we’re looking forward to being involved with the Friday Night Lights event and the Community Schools initiative this year and are delighted to be able to help two talented, young rugby players, Leighton Ball and Jerome Yates, achieve their dreams.

"Last year we promoted the London Skolars Free Community Season Ticket in the centre and across The Mall’s digital platforms and hope to do so again this year when spectators are allowed to return to the stadium.”

Leighton Ball has developed through Skolars' Junior ranks. He excelled in the Reserves squad in 2019 and has worked incredibly hard to earn his first semi-pro contract.

Jerome Yates has also worked his way up through the club's talent pathway and is now a regular in first-team squads.

The shopping centre is also involved in community work through its Friday Night Lights and Community Schools initiatives.

Friday Night Lights is one of the club’s major events, attracting more than 1,000 supporters from across the country, as part of London League Weekend. The event, which combines a junior match with a first-team fixture, was due to take place in July 2020 but had to be postponed. However, the club hopes to resurrect it later this year.

London Skolars also works with over 1,000 pupils in Haringey, Barnet and Enfield as part of its Community Schools programme. As well as coaching rugby, the club is keen to highlight the importance of leading an active lifestyle and hopes to resume as soon as it is safe to do so.

“The partnership means a great deal,” says London Skolars general manager Charlie de Haan. “The club has a firm objective to regularly engage with members of its local community and to be a positive presence. Forming partnerships such as this one with the Mall Wood Green, goes a long way to helping us achieve this goal.

"I would like to thank Gwendolyne and the rest of the team at The Mall for their on-going support. This partnership will assist the club in its efforts to provide Rugby League sessions and will also aid the careers of two aspiring athletes.”

Founded in 1995, London Skolars currently plays in Betfred League 1. Initially created for post-university graduates in London, the club is now open to all.

It has been a difficult year for the club. Mr de Haan said: “Covid has affected everyone and the club has faced many challenges. We were able to organise some rugby sessions in between lockdowns, which proved popular and we are maintaining a positive outlook. We certainly believe that there is strength in numbers and by forming partnerships such as this, we can create relationships that positively affect large parts of society.”

Competitive fixtures for the first team are due to resume later this year. Initially, these may be behind closed doors, but the club hopes to be able to welcome members of the public later in the season.

Mr de Haan added: “There will be preferential ticket rates for residents of Haringey so keep an eye on our website and social media channels for special offers."