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Big month for RFU's Challengers in National Citizen Service

01 October 2012

  • Fifteen projects on each of the four weekends in September
  • Volunteering, fund-raising, campaigning and regeneration all feature
Challengers who are young volunteers in the RFU franchise of The Challenge Network, part of the National Citizen Service

Photo: RFU Archive

In a mammoth month for volunteering in the Richmond and Twickenham area, the Rugby Football Union is assisting almost 200 local youngsters to complete their National Citizen Service this September.

The RFU is one of the first franchisees of The Challenge Network, the largest provider of the National Citizen Service (NCS), a government initiative for 16-year-olds in the summer after their GCSEs.

The Challengers have been busy with dozens of volunteering and fundraising activities to help them develop personally and to participate more fully in their local community.

Naturally rugby is at the heart of the RFU’s franchise, and some of the 180 youngsters have been working with four local rugby clubs: Grasshoppers, Twickenham, London Welsh and Teddington.

They have also volunteered for many rugby and non-rugby charities and the summer’s intense activity is culminating in the delivery of 15 projects locally each weekend throughout September, including:

  • Challengers leafleted and ran a bucket collection for the RFU Injured Players Foundation at the London Scottish v Newcastle Falcons rugby match, raising £360;
  • For the Tag Rugby Trust, Challengers assisted the ‘Rebels and Titans’ project - which works with long-term unemployed from the inner city - to deliver a tag tournament for under-8s at Richmond FC;
  • Challengers went on a seven-mile river walk to Teddington to support and raise awareness of the Just a Drop charity;
  • Decorating the new premises of Stepping on Out, a charity that works with disabled adults to create and sell greetings cards to fund more independent living.

These and many other projects have seen the Challengers meet and be inspired by professionals and volunteers inside and outside the game of rugby.

Pete Ward, RFU Inclusion Officer, has led the cooperation with the National Citizen Service, and said: “This initiative has been enthusiastically supported by the rugby community from professional clubs to local youth sections.

“While the clubs and rugby charities have gained from the fundraising and volunteering, they have also given the young volunteers a taste of the game’s enthusiasm and commitment from a passionate volunteering base, and illustrated not only how much an individual gets from volunteering, but also how much society gets from that individual’s commitment too.

“More broadly, Twickenham Stadium and the RFU is a huge presence in the area, and our involvement in this scheme lets local charities and services feel connected with the organisation and the sport, giving us the opportunity to contribute directly to the wellbeing of local people.”

Volunteering took pride of place on the first weekend (September 8/9), followed by fund-raising (15/16), campaigning on a local issue (22/23) and the Big Action Weekend (September 29/30): three 60-young person regeneration projects.

For more information contact Pete Ward, RFU, PeteWard@rfu.com or 07850 166465