Community award 2008/09
Kesteven RFC (Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire RFU)
Kesteven RFC in Lincolnshire is the Rugby Club of Grantham. The Club is situated in open country about two miles from the town - which hinders the club profile in the town. As a result, the club decided to take the club to Grantham and to get involved in the local community.
The club have been very active in the past year by holding events of their own and taking part in major events organised by other organisations. They have taken part in a number of community events in the town, supporting local charities. These have included an open day at the Grantham Town Football Club where the club staged a demonstration of Tag rugby involving young players from the club which attracted people to the game, including some complete newcomers who joined in the fun. This was part of a community event involving a number of voluntary organisations.
The next event was Grantham Carnival. This is the biggest community event in the town. The club involvement had players turning out in kit and parading through the town using an ex London Transport Bus as the focus. They then held a demonstration match involving U11s and U12s as part of the main event.
We also held a fun Boys v Girls match involving the local ladies netball team. This was a return match between the clubs with the girls having challenged the boys to a netball match earlier in the season. This event was well supported by the Leisure Rugby department at the RFU with the provision of the RFU goal kicking inflatables.
The club then took part in an event supporting the local GIFTS hospice charity, again demonstrating our great game but also helping a very worthy local charity.
The Junior section of the Club frequently involve themselves in work with the community. This includes helping at local events and holding sessions packing shopping for customers at local supermarkets. All this raises the profile of the club.
As a Community Amateur Sports Club, Kesteven RFC take their responsibilities towards the community seriously by making their ground and facilities available for a variety of uses. This includes hosting a local youth football team for training and their end of season tournament. They also provide the facilities for a local dog training club’s annual two-day dog agility show. They also host a couple of motor cycle club rallies and this year are planning a big ‘It’s A Knockout’ Tournament in aid of ClicSargent charity, supporting one of their members recently diagnosed with leukaemia.
All this helps to show how committed Kesteven Rugby Club is to the people and community of Grantham. Their website has the tag line ‘Kesteven RFC, the Rugby Club for Grantham’ and reflects very well how important the town is to the club.
Runner Up: Knutsford RFC (Cheshire RFU)
Knutsford RFC is an immensely young club, in only their fifth season of existence. However, the impact of the club's efforts has had a truly remarkable impact upon the local community.
Now at the forefront of sport in the local community, the club's membership has increased rapidly and consistently throughout their short life. With junior membership having increased to approximately 110, seniors to 50 and a huge pool of approximately 40 veterans, the club has utilised these links to great effect in raising the profile of the game and using this profile to raise impressive sums of money for local charities.
The annual Rugby Ball has seen the club service over 1300 guests at four events from which all profits have gone to a local Charity; Wish Upon a Star (who provide once in a lifetime holidays to terminally ill children and their families). Having raised over £60,000 in just four years, the club are immensely proud of the huge amount of volunteers who have selflessly pulled together and given up thousands of hours of their time to enable this remarkable achievement to have happened.
In 2005, the female members of the club bore flesh generously (whilst subtly) and demonstrated their passion for fundraising in an artistically pleasing calendar raising approximately £1500 for the testicular cancer charity 'Everyman'.
As the club is now rapidly outgrowing its initial facilities, they are now focusing their fundraising efforts on the two phase development of a 12-acre piece of farmland into four high quality rugby pitches, bringing new opportunities to local children and adults and greater participation in sport and rugby in the community. Having achieved stage one of the Seal of Approval last season, the club are confident in their ability to provide children of all ages with the opportunity to experience the camaraderie of the sport in the safe hands of qualified and approved coaches and support staff.
Having recently raised funds for the development of an £18,000 gymnasium and purchase of a scrum machine, the club hope to attract new colt/student and senior members who will maintain the senior teams' steady progression up their respective divisions and further increase the profile of the club within the local community, enabling them to continue to raise funds for worthwhile causes.
Runner Up: Wednesbury RUFC (Staffordshire RFU)
Being the home of the tallest rugby posts on the planet, it's not surprising that the club have high aims for the place of their rugby club in the local community. The posts themselves are meant to act as a beacon to the community that rugby is on the map in a fairly deprived area and one which for many years has been fairly barren where rugby is concerned.
The club is presently a base for a large number of multi-sport users and general social/community usage. The centre is being increasingly used by all sectors of the community to participate in sport & leisure activities.
The club has developed an open and accessible site, which it hopes to benefit the whole community in terms of sport, leisure and recreation. For example, the building, two grassed pitches and artificial turf pitch are used by the resident youth club, in addition to 15+ soccer/multi-sport teams (covering all age groups and both male/female) as well as the adult/youth rugby teams which are both developing. Although established in 1921, it is only since the turn of this century that youth rugby has been developed at the club, yet the club are already in Year 2 of RFU Seal of Approval, with rugby being developed at all ages and club/school links increasing through the local Sports College and School Sports Co-ordinator links.
After school and summer coaching takes place and the club has hosted a number of highly successful Mini/Midi festivals. As well as acting as a base for RFU organised courses, the club building is also used for a senior citizens' club, keep-fit and slimming club, karate and kickboxing clubs as well as other sports training courses.
The club is also often used for after-school, holiday school and youth club activities, including the successful Sandwell 'happy' programme for 'youth at risk', which delivered diversionary activities for young people during school holiday periods based around sports, arts and outdoor pursuits. The programme was delivered, using some club coaches, through Sandwell youth service in partnership with the Connexions service.