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Tigers stars meet and greet SEND group

Leicester Tigers full-back Telusa Veainu and academy graduate Jack van Poorvlieet took time out of their matchday to meet a group of more than 100 fans ahead of Tigers Challenge Cup win over Pau.

The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) group were invited down to Welford Road as part of a wider initiative ensuring the stadium is accessible for all. 

Organised by the club’ SEND rugby development officer, Gary Ayres, the group was made up of families who, for many, this was their first ever visit to Welford Road to watch Tigers. Pupils from Birkett House, Maplewell Hall, Ashmount, Forrest Way, Lewis Charlton School as well as South Leicestershire College and the Leicestershire Hearing Support Group joined the club.  

To make the trip extra special, the Tigers boys met the group who were sat in the Robin Hood Stand meeting fans, posing for photos and making everyone feel welcome ahead of the European fixture. 

Gary said: “The club offered students from special schools within Leicestershire a chance to come and watch Tigers in action for free with the aim of improving our accessibility and inclusion with the stadium.

“In my day-to-day role, I work with a number of SEND groups across the county providing sessions such as mixed ability rugby, wheelchair rugby and sessions for those with mental health issues. 

“The hope is that by inviting families down, we have not only provided the opportunity for them to experience a game, but also provide the club with valuable feedback about the stadiums accessible facilities and procedures. 

The group will also feedback via a questionnaire to ensure the club can continue to create opportunities for all at Welford Road and across the #TigersFamily. 

If you’d like to find out more information about the club’s SEND programmes, please contact [email protected]