WARRINGTON Wolves is one of seven top Rugby League teams to help prevent young people from getting caught up in violent crime.

The Rugby Football League (RFL) has been awarded £660,000 from the Youth Endowment Fund to launch a specialised programme for youths and their families.

Jon Yates, executive director of the Youth Endowment Fund, said: "Too many children have their lives blighted by violent crime.

"Across the country, organisations are working hard to change this.

"We’re delighted to partner with the Rugby Football League on this programme.

"With this money we can make a difference and learn lessons that can help across England and Wales."

Warrington Wolves Charitable Foundation will help implement the Inspiring Futures programme, delivering assemblies in schools which use messages from players to promote self-esteem, teamwork and well-being.

Coaches will work alongside schools to run 12-week mentoring programmes to support young people with behavioural issues.

Crime prevention agencies will also target anti-social behaviour hotspots, first-time offenders and young people at high-risk of offending.

A further ten-week intensive therapy programme will work with families to strengthen relationships, develop resilience and improve communication.

Ralph Rimmer, chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said: "Rugby League is committed as a sport to making lives better, and it is uniquely placed to do so.

"This great news is further recognition of the difference this sport makes in its communities.

"On behalf of the sport, the RFL is at the forefront of evidencing the value of the sport’s work in mental health, education, skills and community cohesion, as well as physical wellbeing through sport.

"This year we will continue to promote this social dividend, including speaking to the government and policy makers about increasing social mobility through Rugby League.

"We know that young people want and deserve direction, guidance and positive role models to look up to – and unfortunately what can happen in the absence of these things.

"Rugby League clubs are at the centre of their communities, with owners, coaches, volunteers and players all involved with activity that benefits their town, city and region.

"With the support of the Youth Endowment Fund, we know that Rugby League will make an even bigger difference for young people."