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Young volunteers take centre stage

31 October 2013

  • RFU launches Young Rugby Ambassadors programme
  • Initiative aims to involve more young volunteers in the game ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015
Will Greenwood with Young Rugby Ambassadors

Photo: RFU Archive

The RFU today unveiled plans to develop more young volunteers in rugby clubs across the country through its “Young Rugby Ambassadors” programme.

Rugby clubs the length and breadth of England are being asked to nominate 16- to 20-year-olds to become Young Rugby Ambassadors (YRAs), whose role will be to excite and inspire other young people in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup 2015 (RWC 2015) and beyond.  

These young ambassadors will be working in their clubs to pass on the latest news on RWC 2015, raise awareness of rugby in their local area and will also help to get 16- to 24-year-olds from their community playing rugby again.

RFU Rugby Development Director Steve Grainger emphasised the benefits of the programme: “We are committed to supporting the development of young people as volunteers and future leaders in our clubs at all levels. This programme provides an opportunity for them to take their first leadership roles in clubs, using the inspiration of Rugby World Cup 2015 to engage current club members and recruit new ones.

“These young people represent the best of their generation and they will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the development and long-term success of our sport in clubs across the country.”

Today marks two years to go to the final of RWC 2015, and the YRA programme kicked off with regional briefing days held in the ten English Host Cities chosen to stage matches during the tournament.

The briefing days involved hundreds of young volunteers and mentors from rugby clubs nationwide. They took part in workshops discussing ideas for community projects to inspire people about rugby, explored different leadership and ambassadorial styles and shared information about RWC 2015.

At Villa Park in Birmingham, for example, they heard from Rugby World Cup 2003 winner and England Rugby 2015 ambassador, Will Greenwood.

Paying a surprise visit with the Webb Ellis Cup, he said: “I want Rugby World Cup 2015 to act as a catalyst to get more people finding out what their local rugby clubs can offer in terms of a community and a support base. A rugby club is a great place to be around all through the week. It can be a real anchor; not just in terms of health and fitness but also a social life and developing friendships.

“There is no better way to do this than to work with young people in the clubs who are hugely passionate about the game. Two years out from the tournament, the Young Rugby Ambassador programme sets the foundations to get clubs fully involved in Rugby World Cup 2015 and it is so exciting to see such enthusiasm across the country."

There will be up to four Young Rugby Ambassadors from each rugby club, along with adult mentors who will work with them to provide advice and guidance, ensuring that they receive the support they need. The next group of young volunteers will be recruited by May next year. 

Further information on the Young Rugby Ambassadors programme is available from YRA2015@rfu.com.

RWC 2015 will take place between September 18 and October 31, 2015. For more information, contact laurabrown@er2015.com.