“Culture is really important because, no matter your background or heritage, everyone has a different idea of what culture looks like, and we’re going to let culture loose. That’s not just about sport, that’s everything in life” – Jones-Buchanan chats to Sky this Black History Month
Last Updated: 30/10/22 8:02pm
Fresh from his appointment as Leeds Rhinos’ first-ever head of culture, diversity and inclusivity, Rhinos legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan chats aims and the goal of inspiring the city of Leeds this Black History Month…
Jones-Buchanan, who acted as interim head coach of Leeds for six weeks in April before transitioning to his new role, has previously said rugby league has taken its history of diversity for granted.
As such, the 41-year-old has told Sky Sports he is targeting inspiring and educating the city of Leeds, while taking stock first.
“This job is only a week-and-a-half, two weeks old at the minute, and a great deal of that has just been to sit down with people and reflect and say: ‘Where are we now?’
“We want a benchmark, we want to take it higher, but actually before we take it forward we’ve got to know exactly where we are right now and how we can be better.
“I think Sue Ward in particular, who has probably instigated a lot of my role, has been really visionary and understanding that this is a big part of what we need going forward as a club, making sure that our culture is correct.
“And that everything that comes out of Leeds Rhinos and the brand, is a shining light and an example to everyone else.
“One of the biggest plans that pops into my mind is to get really engaged with the Leeds Rhinos foundation.
“It’s our biggest public face and provision, and we do everything from serving those who might be living with dementia, to coaching the very basics of rugby league skills, developing our local coaches.
“There’s also an opportunity I think, to work with other sporting organisations within the city. So there’s Leeds United, Leeds Knights the ice hockey team, we’ve got individuals like Nile Wilson [GB gymnast], Josh Warrington [professional boxer], Nicola Adams [retired professional boxer and world champion], who are really iconic as sporting people.
“And just to ask that question: How can we work together as a collective? To inspire, educate and entertain the people of Leeds.”
Jones-Buchanan also revealed that on January 7, 2023, he and the club will be launching the year of culture, placing an emphasis and importance of heritage and culture.
“I’m dual-heritaged. My grandparents were from St Kitts,” he added.
“On January 7, 2023, we’re launching the year of culture.
“Culture is really important because, no matter your background or heritage, everyone has a different idea of what culture looks like, and we’re going to let culture loose.
“And that’s not just about sport anymore, that’s about everything in life.
“Whatever you’ve got to bring, bring it to Wembley Stadium on January 7.
“I tell you what I believe has helped me, one is having a really strong support network. And by that I mean Kevin Sinfield – who’s probably the most influential person in my life – says we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with.
“So I’d always encourage people to surround yourself with great people who work hard and do the right thing.
“And lastly, back yourself. It doesn’t have to make sense, but if you’ve got a desire and a passion, you drive and go after it. And you’ll drive people with you, and see and achieve some great things.”