Swinton Lions have announced a mascot scheme for the 2020 season in which young Salford locals can be mascots and flag-bearers on match days completely free of charge.
The scheme is hoping to encourage more young people to get involved with Rugby, offering a fantastic pitch-side experience to inspire future generations in the process.
Stephen Parker, Chair of the Supporters’ Trust and a Director at Swinton Lions, spoke to Salford Now about the mascot scheme.
He said: “We are hoping to get the community more involved and hopefully get them engaged with the sport, and hopefully they will gain a love for the sport and the club in the process.
“The traditional part of where our fans are still based is Swinton, and that is where we are trying to engage.
“Previously, it [the attendance] has not been too bad, we have been able to get children to attend. But more often than not, we have relied upon our own Junior Lions supporters to be our mascots and flag-bearers.”
The Lions are not just trying to bring in younger generations to their home ground at Heywood Road. Accompanying adults of mascots and flag-bearers get entry to matches for five pounds, a massive reduction on the £18 it normally costs for an adult ticket.
“Children and their families have many interests and we tend to struggle to fight for their interest in getting them to come down for our games when we are playing at home.” – added Stephen.
“What we have tried to do is engage with local community groups such as beavers, scouts, brownies as well as local amateur football and rugby clubs within the Sale and Swinton area.”
Whilst Swinton Lions have struggled financially in recent years, there are hopes that ideas like this will encourage the next generation and their families to develop a passion for Rugby, hopefully supporting Swinton Lions in the process of being a mascot.
“We are fighting very hard on the pitch, but we are fighting very hard off the pitch as well.”
Swinton Lions host Dewsbury Rams in the Betfred Championship at 3pm this Sunday for their first home game of the season.
They won their opening game in emphatic fashion, beating newly-promoted Whitehaven 16-0 with a mature performance.
If you are interested in showing your support for the Lions this season, you can follow this link for more details about the scheme.