A record number of Scottish clubs will next month throw open their doors to the local community and stage an RBS RugbyForce 2013 event to celebrate the start of the new season.
Some 149 clubs the length and breadth of the country have signed up to take part in RBS RugbyForce on the weekend of Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August, a rise of almost 100 from just two years ago.
When registering, clubs were asked to describe how a visit from a Scotland player would add value to their event, with the ten best entries being revealed today.
Scotland stars will be lending a hand to the events at: Aygyll and Bute/Oban Lorne, Cartha Queens Park, Crieff and Strathearn, Edinburgh Accies, Ellon, Marr, Montrose, Newton Stewart, Selkirk and Forrester, where today's launch took place.
The RBS RugbyForce initiative, driven by Scottish Rugby’s principal partner RBS, allows clubs to benefit from financial, practical and promotional assistance to run a pre-season event where they mobilise both existing and potential members.
In previous years, the focus has been on amassing volunteers to help spruce up facilities, but more and more clubs are now using the weekend to encourage the local community to get involved in a more lasting sense, whether as players, supporters, volunteers, members or sponsors.
Events being put on by clubs this year include family barbecues, come and try touch rugby sessions, fêtes with stalls and stands, regional minis and sevens tournaments incorporating activities for siblings and parents, joint open days with other local sports clubs, plus the usual array of team DIY activities to get grounds spick and span in time for the resumption of the RBS domestic leagues.
Forrester, the RBS East League 2 side in the west of Edinburgh, reflect the growing trend for clubs to use RBS RugbyForce to run a day with something for everyone. The South Gyle outfit will be “doors open” on Saturday 10 August, with senior and junior members invited along to sign up for the new season and bring their family and friends to take part in games, events and competitions. A variety of stations will be on the go, from face painting to assault courses and raffles, with parents and coaches taking on children in fun touch rugby games before the seniors play McLaren at 2pm, followed by a group barbecue to round things off.
Scotland all-time great and RBS Ambassador Chris Paterson today dropped into the club to learn about their plans. He said: “It’s fantastic to hear of so many clubs like Forrester really embracing the spirit of RBS RugbyForce. From speaking to the guys here, it’s clear they’ve come up with a day of activities the whole community can enjoy.
“Clubs all over Scotland put in a huge amount of effort to offer something for everyone. Whether people want to play, support, volunteer or just enjoy the social side and camaraderie, RBS RugbyForce is a great chance to show them what they’ll get out of being involved and how they can be part of the club going from strength to strength.”
Forrester’s community development officer, Gavin Sisson, said: “We see RBS RugbyForce as an opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds. It’s great to be able to put on a fun day for the people already engaged with the club and get them geared up for the new season. It’s also a really good way of attracting new people along and underlining why this is a great place for them and their families to get involved.
“We’re delighted that we’ve been selected to receive a Scotland player visit. That will only add to the excitement about the day and encourage even more people to come along.”
Nick Rennie, head of clubs and schools at Scottish Rugby, said: “RBS RugbyForce showcases what club rugby is all about: local pride, enjoyment and teamwork. It’s a fantastic initiative that Scottish Rugby is proud to support, helping our clubs continue to play a vital role in the lives of Scottish communities.
“Scotland players and Scottish Rugby staff will be out and about during RBS RugbyForce, rolling up their sleeves and helping clubs with their events. As ever, it’s shaping up to be a great weekend.”
All clubs taking part in RBS RugbyForce 2013 will shortly receive a banner and poster to promote their event, along with a comprehensive event planning guide packed with hints and tips to get people involved. Each club also receives a £250 fund to purchase event essentials like DIY materials, barbecue supplies, t-shirts/bibs for minis festivals etc.
RBS RugbyForce is a core element of the package of support that RBS provides to Scotland’s clubs. As well as sponsoring the RBS domestic leagues, knock-out competitions and men’s and women’s RBS Finals Days, RBS gives clubs access to vital kit and equipment through RBS Locker Room, awards RBS Club, Club Volunteer and Try of the Month to celebrate hard work and success, runs sustainability workshops to guide clubs to a thriving future and twins clubs with their local RBS branch for marketing assistance.
To keep up to date with the latest news around RBS RugbyForce 2013, head to the RBS Scottish Rugby Facebook page or follow on Twitter @RBS_Rugby_Lad and @scotlandteam.