New MND Coordinator for Calderdale and Huddersfield starts work

We’re excited to say that the new MND Coordinator for Calderdale and Huddersfield has begun work to bring together help and services for those with the condition across the area.

Beth Macdonald has been appointed to the two-day per week role, which will initially run for two years.

It is being jointly funded by the Nick Smith Foundation and the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Charity with the aim to provide patients with a single point of contact, ensuring a joined-up approach to care and unlocking and signposting extra support for those diagnosed and their families.

A MND Steering Group, which Foundation Chair Stephen Naylor will be part of, will work with Beth to develop the role and assess its impact.

Beth said:

“I am very excited to be in the role and am hoping to make great improvements in the experiences of people with Motor Neurone Disease, and their families.

“I have worked in the community as an Occupational Therapist for many years, working closely with people with Motor Neurone Disease and their families. This has enabled me to see where hospital and community services and support could be improved locally and delivered in a way that offers people a more coordinated and supportive approach as they navigate life with this very difficult condition.

“I am optimistic that the coordinator role will have a significant positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people with MND in the Huddersfield and Calderdale NHS Trust area.”

 

Rugby league coaches and players pass on their top tips for virtual Smudger U7s

Coaches and players from across the world of rugby league are coming together to pass on their top tips to young players in a virtual version of an annual tournament which usually brings together dozens of under 7s from across Yorkshire.

The Smudger U7s has been held annually since Nick ‘Smudger’ Smith died in 2017 by the charity set up in his name. It usually takes place at Siddal ARLFC in Halifax, the leading amateur side where Nick was captain for many of his 400 appearances.

The event aims to encourage young people to keep playing the sport he loved and develop their skills through a day of matches, coaching and fun.

This year, despite the Nick Smith Foundation being unable to invite everyone to be together physically, the team behind the Smudger U7s were determined to ensure some of that support was still available.

On Sunday (6 September) at 11am a video containing top tips will go live and be available for young players and their families to watch at any time at www.SmudgerU7s.com.

Introduced by Leeds Rhinos Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield, who played alongside Nick in the Leeds Rhinos Academy in 1998. In his introduction, he says:

 “Like Nick, I started playing when I was young so I understand how important it is to put some good habits in place. Rugby league was Nick’s passion and it’s mine too.”

Among the other rugby league legends passing on their advice are rugby league legend Keith Senior, Wigan Warriors and former Siddal player Morgan Smithies and the Challenge Cup winning coach John Kear.

They are joined by some of Nick’s friends and teammates, including Johnny Lawless, who won the Challenge Cup with Sheffield Eagles in 1998 and is a Trustee of The Nick Smith Foundation:

“I believe rugby league is the greatest team sport in the whole world. I hope every young player watching this weekend enjoys playing the game as much as I did, Nick did and all the players and coaches featured in this year’s Smudger U7s do.”

One of the Nick Smith Foundation’s aims is to promote the sport Nick loved, rugby league, to young people to encourage them to take up and develop their skills. The Smudger U7s is a key part of that work.

Stephen Naylor, Chair of the Nick Smith Foundation, said:

“This has been a year like no other but we were determined not to let a pandemic stop us from bringing together young people, albeit virtually, for the Smudger U7s.

 “Nick loved playing and coaching rugby league and I hope the top tips from so many rugby league coaches and players really inspire the young people who watch to keep playing the game.

 “Thank you to every single coach and player who has taken part and given up their time and expertise to support this event.”

Taking the Smudger U7s virtual for 2020

Every year since we launched The Nick Smith Foundation, we’ve held an annual event bringing together U7 teams from across Yorkshire for a day of matches, fun and skills. 

This year, we’re unable to invite everyone to be together physically but we wanted to ensure the Smudger U7s could still take place. We are putting together a virtual event and hope you will join us on Sunday, 6th September.

Find out more and keep up-to-date at SmudgerU7s.com >>

Examiner Community Awards name us Community Group of the Year

We’re proud to have been named as the winner of the Community Group of the Year at the Huddersfield Examiner Community Awards 2020.

The virtual ceremony was hosted by ITV News presenter Nina Hossain and we were thrilled to win the title from a strong shortlist of brilliant organisations.

Thank you to everyone involved with the awards for recognising our work, and thank you to you – our fundraisers, donors and friends – for keeping Nick’s legacy alive after his death.

You can read more about the awards in the Huddersfield Examiner and online here >>

Completed – three Super League players raise nearly £2,000 with 48K Challenge

Three young Super League players have raised over £1,500 by completing their 48 kilometre in 48 hour challenge for The Nick Smith Foundation.

Wigan Warriors players Amir Bourouh and Morgan Smithies, both 19, and Warrington Wolves player Riley Dean, age 18, ran the distance around Scammonden Reservoir on Monday and Tuesday this week (15 & 16 June).

They grew up playing with Siddal ARLFC in Halifax – the leading amateur club where Nick ‘Smudger’ Smith, was captain for many years. Nick died in December 2017 from Motor Neurone Disease at the age of just 38 and they wanted to raise money for the charity set up in his name.

You can still support the players at www.nicksmithfoundation.org.uk/48

Three Super League players to run 48 kilometres in 48 hours for Smudger

Three young Super League players are to take on the challenge of running 48 kilometres in the space of just 48 hours to raise money for The Nick Smith Foundation.

19-year olds Amir Bourouh and Morgan Smithies, who both play for Wigan Warriors, and 18-year old Riley Dean, who plays for Warrington Wolves, are friends and teammates who grew up playing with Siddal ARLFC in Halifax.

With the Super League season suspended, they decided to take on the challenge in memory of one of the amateur club’s leading all-time players, Nick ‘Smudger’ Smith, who died in December 2017 from Motor Neurone Disease at the age of just 38.

Amir, Morgan and Riley – who have all played for England Youth – each aim to run 24 kilometres on both Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 June and will split the distance into three or four runs on both days.

Speaking on behalf of the trio, Amir Bourouh said:

“We’re all proud to have grown up playing for Siddal ARLFC and everyone who pulls on the blue and white shirt is always part of the club’s family. Nick was a Siddal legend and even though we never played alongside him, we know the impact he had and the passion he had for rugby league.

“His death touched everyone and we are determined to help ensure the legacy The Nick Smith Foundation is building in his name can continue. We hope as many people as possible will donate whatever they can to support us and help the charity’s aims.”

The Nick Smith Foundation has raised over £100,000 in the two years since it was launched and supports research into Motor Neurone Disease, ensures there is more help for those diagnosed with the condition, supports children having to face the death of a parent at a young age and encourages children to take up rugby league – the sport Nick loved.

Stephen Naylor, Nick’s brother-in-law and chair of the Nick Smith Foundation, said:

“Siddal ARLFC has been a huge source of support for all of us in Nick’s family over the past few years and their fundraising efforts to help the charity have been nothing short of incredible.

“We are so grateful to Amir, Morgan and Riley for choosing to support us with their 48 kilometres in 48 hours challenge. Their efforts will make a real difference to the work we are able to do in Nick’s memory and help ensure his legacy lives on.”

You can support the challenge at www.nicksmithfoundation.org.uk/48

More support for patients with Motor Neurone Disease in Calderdale and Huddersfield

Patients with Motor Neurone Disease in Calderdale and Huddersfield will receive more support in the future as a new co-ordinator is recruited to bring together help and services for those with the condition.

The role is being jointly funded by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Charity and The Nick Smith Foundation with the 2-day per week role employed by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.

The co-ordinator will initially be in place for two years to assess the role’s impact. It aims to provide patients with a single point of contact, ensuring there is a joined-up approach to care plans and unlocking and signposting extra support for those diagnosed and their families.

Lucy Pittaway, Deputy Director of Operations of the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This is a great opportunity for us to learn from best practise across the region and implement a co-ordinated, multidisciplinary approach to support patients diagnosed with MND. 

“The aim is to show the quality benefits of this model and secure recurrent funding to embed this as a permanent service in the future for our community. I cannot thank The Nick Smith Foundation and our NHS Charity at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust enough for supporting this new role and service provision.”

An MND Services Steering Group will monitor the impact of the role. It will meet every quarter with the MND Co-ordinator and will include a representative of The Nick Smith Foundation.

The Foundation was formed after Nick, from Halifax, died in December 2017 just 101 days after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. He had two young children and his family have been calling for the creation of a role like this after their experience showed a lack of co-ordination and care for those diagnosed with the terminal condition.

Rachel Smith, Nick’s wife and Trustee of the Nick Smith Foundation, said:

“When Nick was diagnosed, having someone carrying out this role would have made a huge difference – someone who could co-ordinate what he needed to ensure he received the best care and what we needed as a family to ensure we had the best support. 

“I am thrilled that the Foundation in his name is able to help fund this crucial new role and make a real difference to the lives of those who have Motor Neurone Disease. Thank you to everyone who has raised money for us to allow that to happen, and to the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust for having the vision to see the impact it will have.”

The role is being co-funded by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Charity – the charitable arm of the NHS here. Funds raised are used to enhance services and facilities as well as purchasing additional equipment to optimise patient care.

Emma Kovaleski, Fundraising Manager for the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Charity, said:

“Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Charity exists to support and enhance patient care and the service we provide at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, and through the generosity of our donors we are delighted to fund new services and support roles such as the MND Co-ordinator. 

“It is really important that we embrace partnerships too and thank you to the Trustees at the Nick Smith Foundation for working in partnership with us on this.”

More details about the job can be found here >>

Supporting Junior Rugby League

We’re giving £1,850 to support junior rugby league with Forty20 News as part of our commitment to encourage more young people into the sport Nick loved.

The winners of the competition which the magazine and news website have been running are now being revealed and we’re delighted that #ForSmudger supporter, the Wigan Warriors and Siddal RL star Morgan Smithies has recorded a message to announce them.