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Young Volunteers vRugby award 2008/09

Winner: Brockenhurst College (Hampshire RFU)

An extensive volunteering project ran in the New Forest thanks to a number of RFU staff and Brockenhurst College students. A 'vRugbyLife' project was run by five volunteers who all received relevant training following a presentation given by the Southern Region Volunteer Executive to recruit volunteers.

The five volunteers were identified from the college to co-ordinate a Rugby Festival for each of the five Rugby Clubs in the New Forest. The five volunteers had undertaken the RFU CLA course as part of their training and organised the Festivals along with Secondary School volunteers who have also undertaken the RFU CLA course. The Festivals ran at local Rugby Clubs to help develop club/school links and was used as a recruitment tool.

In total around 115 volunteers delivered Tag Rugby to over 450 school children. These events culminated in a final that took place at Brockenhurst College. The event links with Hampshire County Council's PRISM Network (Tackling Drugs Unit) who also used the project to broaden their ability to get into schools and deliver drugs and alcohol awareness training in the New Forest.

Runner Up: Weymouth RFC (Dorset & Wiltshire RFU)

Chris Davis, who nominated Weymouth RFC, says: “Weymouth is proud to encourage and support young volunteers within the community.

Our first young volunteer Megan Arnold came along as a spectator whilst her brother was training or playing rugby and stood around and watched. After a while Megan asked if there was anything she could do to help, whether it was helping in the kitchen or cleaning the clubhouse. It was suggested that she could help out with the sweet sales on a Sunday morning and after a while, Megan took over the running of the stall, from setting up to cashing up and ordering stock. After a time Megan encouraged other young volunteers to help her. She also helped with the cleaning of the club after training on a Sunday but has also helped with serving and washing up after senior games on Saturdays. It is my feeling that Megan feels that she belongs at the club in her own right as Megan Arnold and not sister of or daughter of. Megan has now been awarded a Young Volunteers fleece after the club cited her for her hard work and achievement.

A similar story with another of our young volunteers, Gemma Avant who is also a sister of one of the rising stars of the U13s. When I first met Gemma she was shy and retiring and spent all of her time with her mum watching her brother play rugby standing in the shadows. After some coaxing, Gemma volunteered to help with the cooking on a Sunday morning. After doing this for few weeks, Gemma enjoyed the days so much she even came along to help when her brother was playing in an away game, and recently she has helped out cooking for the senior teams. Gemma now comes across as confident happy and outgoing, recognised as Gemma willing to have a go at anything.

The club has also found other young volunteers, such as Bridie MacDonald, who the other girls have recruited and assists Megan on a regular basis with the sweet stall sales. As a result of these young volunteers’ front line role, more children and young people have come to realise that this is their club and they are its future.

It is my opinion that by encouraging young volunteers to become involved you not only find your volunteers of the future but they also learn the same life skills that their siblings do playing rugby”.

Runner Up: Witney RFC (Oxford RFU)

Pat Hall, who nominated Witney RFC, says: “Through the good offices of the RFU, we have signed up to the vRugby programme and have identified a vRugby Club Activator from within the club. His name is Lawrence Treveskas, who plays for our U17 team and is also a Student at the Abingdon and Witney College. He has undertaken to look at a project to replace our existing fencing around our first pitch and to sell advertising boards to local industry and commerce at all matches on a seasonal basis.

This is a major task which will improve safety at matches and raise the revenue to pay for the costs of the project. Quotations obtained for the fencing alone are around £7500. It will also be necessary for him and his team to obtain Planning Permission for the advertising boards, which will give him experience in dealing with local Government Bodies.

He has commenced selecting his sub-committee and we are pleased to report that through his club and College contacts eleven young men have so far volunteered to join in the task, as well as three of our Cherubs (Girls XV) who have said they will join too.

A spin off from this project is that Lawrence’s team have also volunteered to do regular maintenance jobs in the club, and have elected to redecorate the Jubilee bar and Main Clubroom to start with.

Our committee have confirmed that we will recognise Lawrence’s sub-committee and are organising that it should be called the Witney Young Volunteers Club, with a suitable easily recognisable motif to acknowledge their commitment to all our members. We believe this is the right way to empower our young people and to generate the future volunteers that the club must generate from within our community.


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