Sportsmatch Award Boost For Central Aberdeenshire Rugby

Garioch Rugby Football Club's commitment to schools rugby has been given a boost by a SPORTSMATCH award of £6800. The award will allow the forward thinking Inverurie based club to appoint a full time rugby development officer whose primary tasks will be to further increase the numbers of children playing rugby in Garioch's schools and to forge solid links between the schools and the club to maximise the opportunities to play rugby in the area.Garioch Rugby Football Club's commitment to schools rugby has been given a boost by a SPORTSMATCH award of £6800.

The award will allow the forward thinking Inverurie based club to appoint a full time rugby development officer whose primary tasks will be to further increase the numbers of children playing rugby in Garioch's schools and to forge solid links between the schools and the club to maximise the opportunities to play rugby in the area.

Pete Thomson, Garioch RFC's schools coaching coordinator and sponsorship convenor, said: "We have been giving coaching sessions to 19 primary schools and the three academies (Inverurie, Kemnay and Meldrum) in the Garioch area for the last two years on a part-time basis with two qualified coaches.

_x001C_In the last school session, this totalled more than 700 hours, and over 1750 primary school children have benefited from a term of rugby delivered absolutely free to the community.

_x001C_It is tougher to get the three academies playing rugby since it is still not a curricular subject however Meldrum in particular is going very well, entering the Bell Lawrie Schools cup and North Schools Leagues at U15, U18 and girls levels."

The club already has a full timetable drawn up for next term - seven full days of coaching will be delivered each week by the full time RDO and an additional part time coach.

Garioch RFC president, Stuart Archer, said: _x001C_Combined with the highly valued support from our sponsors - Alpha Plus Groundcare, Protech Centreform and Lawrence of Kemnay - an investment from Scottish Rugby and Garioch rugby club funds, the SPORTSMATCH award is the final piece of the funding jigsaw with which we hope to grow the club year on year._x001D_

Steve Matthews, of Alpha Plus in Kintore, added: _x001C_I've been supporting the senior game at Garioch RFC for years and was delighted to see them promoted to Scottish Hydro Electric Caledonia League Division One following a highly successful 07/08 season.

_x001C_Our additional investment in the Schools Coaching Project will pay dividends in the long term._x001D_

Iain Levie, commercial manager of Protech Centreform, said: _x001C_We are proud to continue our sponsorship because Garioch RFC has a proven track record in delivering quality rugby coaching to our children in Aberdeenshire._x001D_

Thomson was keen to point out that the coaching could not go ahead if it were not for Lawrence of Kemnay's investment in the project, with the provision of two loan cars for the coaches to get around the schools. This was recognised by Sportscotland and the investment was also matched by SPORTSMATCH.

Louise Martin, Chair Sportscotland said: _x001C_Garioch Rugby Football Club is one of more than 1,600 sports groups throughout Scotland to have benefited from over £4.4m of SPORTSMATCH investment in grassroots sport. Our thanks go to Alpha Plus Groundcare, Lawrence of Kemnay and Protech Centreform for this sponsorship.

_x001C_This is a great example of how businesses working in partnership with sporting organisations and SPORTSMATCH can make a significant contribution to community sport, enhancing the lives of many young people in Scotland._x001D_

SPORTSMATCH is an award scheme set up in 1992 that aims to support commercial sponsorship of grassroots sports projects that encourages participation at community level, especially youth groups, girls and women, and those facing barriers to participation. In Scotland, SPORTSMATCH is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Sportscotland.

For additional information on Garioch RFC's activities visit www.gariochrugbyclub.org