Royal Bank RugbyForce helps youngsters stay on the pitch
This year has reinforced the importance of sport and activity, and Royal Bank RugbyForce has supported community clubs to keep on playing.
The muddy kits, dirty knees and smiling faces of kids running around a rugby pitch is a welcome distraction in 2020.
The grassroots initiative run by Royal Bank of Scotland in association with Scottish Rugby is designed to help clubs up and down the country to attract and retain members, develop their facilities and be more sustainable for the future.
Challenges posed by the pandemic made the support of RugbyForce even more welcome. Each year, clubs across Scotland can benefit from funding, new kit, guest appearances and expertise.
In 2020, two Hero Clubs were chosen – Jedforest RFC and Loch Lomond RFC – each picking up £1000 prize funds and support for a “return to rugby” event. Community events at each club remain on hold, but it hasn’t stopped them going from strength to strength.
“On the back of being allocated hero status, our mini’s section has seen a massive upsurge in children starting to play rugby in Jedburgh,” says David McKay, Jed Mini’s Convenor.
“We’ve had a 15 per cent increase in player registrations within the junior members section and we now have almost 100 boys and girls playing rugby every Sunday.
“This is particularly important given that very few sports are able to open their doors to children at this time due to the Covid crisis.”
David says the funds, tools and expertise that RugbyForce brings to grassroots rugby is a massive boost at such a difficult time.
VOLUNTEERS WILL HAVE A KEY ROLE TO PLAY
Royal Bank RugbyForce is helping clubs to get rugby ready but they need volunteers to muck in and help.
When restrictions are eased, clubs will be asking their community and grassroots supporters to come to their assistance for a special RugbyForce day.
Royal Bank have supported clubs throughout the Autumn to look at their finances and help manage their income with the RugbyForce Financial Toolkit.
Look out for details at your rugby club and sign up to take part to support your local community.
“In the Scottish Borders, rugby is the main sport – the rugby following is huge and in Jedburgh there’s a real community spirit that we’re keen to preserve.
“Our club is focussed on giving players a fun and safe introduction to rugby, which we hope will see players transition through all elements of the club game.
“Royal Bank RugbyForce helps support this commitment and, collectively, we are doing our best to increase player self-confidence, promote wellbeing, team effort and togetherness at Jedforest.”
Unable to welcome Scotland international players to visit this year, both clubs were delighted to meet Blair Kinghorn, Stuart McNally and Emma Wassell on a Zoom call.
They’ve also had personal video messages of support from Scottish internationalist Fraser Brown and Scotland captain Stuart Hogg, which they can use to encourage more young players to sign up and take part in rugby.
“The social media and public exposure that Royal Bank RugbyForce brings to grassroots rugby is immensely important, especially at this time,” added David McKay.
“It further boosts our club’s profile and hopefully encourages more children to play rugby.”
Iain Norrie, the club captain at Loch Lomond, agrees: “Being able to play and remain involved in sport has been massively beneficial for our kids’