Leicester RidersJelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders opened their new premises in the city centre as they prepare for the opening of the new BBL season on Saturday. The shop and office complex at 25 Rutland Street will include sale of Riders tickets, merchandise and equipment, will incorporate a Learning Centre, and house all of Riders growing staff.

The Lord Mayor of Leicester, Cllr Colin Hall, officially opened the new premises on Thursday 15th September at 12:30pm. The new Riders shop has been out-fitted in partnership with charity sports equipment supplier Sports Traider and John Lewis, and will be used, on a not-for-profit basis, to sell merchandise and equipment to re-invest in Riders community development programme.

The Riders have also teamed up with South Leicestershire College to start the development of a Learning Centre at these offices, which will offer a further exciting arm to their programme for youngsters of all ethnic backgrounds in the city.

Riders General Manager Russell Levenston, “This is a very important development for the Club to have a facility to offer services to our fans in a prime city centre location. The initiative with John Lewis and Sports Traider is also very important to help with funding for our community programme. We are hoping many of our fans will take the opportunity to visit the facility over the next few weeks.”

Lance Haggith, founder and CEO of Sports Traider, said, “We are really pleased to be opening in Leicester in conjunction with the Riders. Their excellent community programme makes this a perfect marriage. The idea behind Sports Traider is to provide sporting opportunities to youngsters regardless of circumstances and to create a level playing field. The Leicester venture will be part of a plan involving 5 stores we are rolling out before Christmas with 20 more planned for next year.”

The Riders, are the oldest Club in the country continuously operating in the top flight. They were founded back in 1967 at Loughborough University, were involved in the first National Basketball League in England in 1973, and were founder members of the BBL, the top flight of British basketball, in 1987. They have continued to operate at that level ever since, and now have Club membership amongst the top ten Clubs in England, and the Riders have an outstanding community programme, with over 25 qualified coaches, called Hoops 4 Health, which delivers coaching and a healthy living and sporting message to the youngsters of our great City and County.

Since the loss of Granby Halls, the Riders have been searching for a permanent home in the City, and that search continues. Their current facility at John Sanford Centre is scheduled for demolition in the next few years and so a new venue continues to be a priority.

Soure: www.bbl.org.uk