- Free transport boosts numbers at junior training sessions
- Exiles forge links with local schools
Birmingham Exiles are feeling the benefits of the RFU’s All Schools programme following an influx of players into their junior section.
Exiles have been provided with a minibus by Midhire Self Drive Rentals to enable them to transport junior players from schools in their catchment area in east Birmingham to the club’s new ground at Elmdon close to Birmingham International Airport.
By providing free transport, Exiles doubled the number of youngsters who attended their most recent junior training sessions at the weekend.
Some of the newcomers came from King Edward VI Sheldon Heath Academy, one of more than 200 schools involved in the All Schools initiative, where Exiles coaches have worked closely with RFU staff and school teachers to introduce rugby in recent months.
All Schools was launched by the RFU in partnership with the Rugby Football Foundation charitable trust in 2012, with the aim to take rugby to 400 state secondary schools by 2015 and to 750 by 2019 as part of the RFU’s Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy plans.
Schools that are new to rugby are identified in regional clusters and supported over three years with a tailored programme to meet its individual needs, including links to a local club. By establishing relationships with rugby clubs, it will help the school and club to retain more players and grow the game.
All Schools will cost £10 million to implement, with the money to be raised through RFU investment, sponsorship and fundraising. The RFU has made an initial commitment of £2 million and a fundraising campaign has been launched, which will include a range of events and activities, with high-profile supporters such as Jason Leonard, Andi Peters and Maggie Alphonsi. Prince Harry is Patron of All Schools and Canterbury is the Official Partner and during next season, both will deliver activity to encourage more young people to play rugby.
Exiles have also run coaching schemes in other local schools and,with support from Birmingham City Council and Sport England, have devised the innovative Scrum n Engage programme.
Scrum n Engage uses rugby, boxing and mentoring to help youngsters who have been identified as having anti-social issues.
The rugby element of the programme is delivered by Exiles and the boxing by Wayne Elcocks of Box Clever coaches.
The Scrum n Engage programme won a runners-up award in last season’s RFU President’s XV Awards.
Further information about Birmingham Exiles RFC can be obtained from Andy Root at email@example.com or on 07779 054770.
The club website can be found at www.birminghamexilesrfc.co.uk