Community Group’s Phill Mills – Foundation Manager at the Fylde Rugby Community Foundation – provides an update in his latest blog

We have been really busy at the Fylde Rugby Community Foundation, with our various programmes and initiatives pushing our mantra of ‘Rugby For All’.

Within all these programmes there is a targeted focus on providing opportunities for people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to the sport. This is particularly true for individuals from the more deprived areas of our local community who are likely to benefit most from the physical and mental benefits that participation in a team sport brings.

Our programmes at the Fylde Rugby Community Foundation include:

Kids Planet Rugratz Rugby

We have continued to deliver our high energy Rugratz Rugby sessions for 3–5-year-olds at Fylde Rugby Club on Saturday mornings (9-10am).

We are also really excited to let you know that we have now launched our new Kids Planet Rugratz Rugby sessions, taking place at our charitable partners venue Streetwise Youth Community Centre in Warton.

Thanks to the support of Kids Planet Nurseries, we are able to offer a number of free places for families who are unable to afford the provision.

Next Generation Travel Primary Tag Rugby

From the start of the academic year in September, we began our tag rugby provision in primary schools across Fylde, Wyre and Blackpool.

The sessions consist of fun tag, skills and evasion games, and during the last term we engaged with 20 primary schools, with around 500 children taking part in primary school tag rugby.

Rugby Reading Champions

Thanks to the funding provided by The Halsall Foundation we are able to continue working with the National Literacy Trust on the fantastic Rugby Reading Champions programme for 15 primary schools across Blackpool over this academic year.

Combining rugby, sports and education to engage children in the benefits and enjoyment of reading, we have started the programme this term and are now delivering in four primary schools in Blackpool, offering the opportunity to children who are not engaging with their reading. This programme is designed to associate reading with sport, in particular rugby union, through 60-minute reading sessions and 60-minute coaching and fun games.

We are now planning on bringing our Rugby Reading Champions programme to primary schools in Fylde with the support of the Fylde Soroptimists. This will enable us to deliver the programme and engage up to 75 children across five primary schools in Fylde. We have already started conversations with a number of Fylde-based schools and are looking to start our delivery after the Christmas break.

Next Generation Travel Secondary Schools Boys Rugby

We have been delivering our secondary school rugby programmes in nine different schools across Fylde, Wyre and Blackpool since September. These include delivering curriculum and afterschool sessions, along with setting up fixtures which are now taking place at Fylde Rugby Club.

A large number of new players have also joined rugby clubs as a result of the work being delivered in secondary schools. This year we have set up a new rugby programme within Lytham St Annes High School, involving curriculum and extra-curricular sessions throughout the year to maximise rugby participation across all year groups. We are continuing to look at ways we can offer this within more local secondary schools.

Secondary Schools Girls Rugby

Following the success of our girls rugby sessions in secondary schools across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, we have now launched a new girls rugby age group team at Fylde Rugby Club for ages 13-16.

We have a great group of girls who are enjoying the new sessions and with this growth we aim to start playing fixtures in the near future. The Foundation is supporting the new rugby club’s girls team to grow numbers and ensure quality delivery. The Girls Secondary School programme at Lytham St Anne’s High is made possible thanks to the very generous support of Vicki Thompson.

All of the offerings within the schools form part of Community Group’s Educational Solutions and you can click HERE for further information.

Wooden Spoon Rugby & Multi Sports Camps

Over the summer school holidays and October half term, we delivered our Rugby and Multi-Sports Camps. Over five weeks, we engaged with a total of 470 children aged 4 – 16, who all had the chance to enjoy many different fun sports, games, and activities, ranging from kick tennis to rugby paintball. Out of the 470 children, 213 free places were allocated to children and families who face financial or social barriers through the support of The Wooden Spoon and the Holiday Activities and Food grant. They not only receive a free place, but transport to the camp if required in addition to a breakfast and hot lunch each day.

Porsche Centre Preston Rugby Pathway Programme

We are pleased to have seen more children join our Rugby Pathway Programme from our most recent sports camps and school sessions. This great programme, supported by Porsche Centre Preston, enables participants from the Foundation’s rugby programmes to receive a junior playing membership, kit and transport for training and games for the season. There has been some feedback from the pathway parents, stating how much this has supported them and provided their children with a passion in a sport which would not have been possible without this programme.

Tilney Smith and Williamson Walking Rugby

The Walking Rugby sessions have returned indoors at Saint Bede’s Sports Hall during the winter period on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-7:30pm. Through the summer period these sessions took place at Fylde Rugby Club with on average 15-20 participants. These sessions are for experienced walking rugby players and follow the full walking rugby rules and game in a safe enjoyable environment. There is a chance to socialise following this and it normally ends up with a trip to the pub!

Fylde Soroptimist’s Walking Rugby

We have recently launched two new Walking Rugby sessions at our partner venue Streetwise Youth Community Centre. The sessions are open to beginners with no minimum level of fitness required, and incorporate different rugby skills and games for anyone who would like to learn the rules of Walking Rugby whilst taking part in fun games. We deliver a Monday coffee morning session with refreshments and a chance to socialise, as well as a Wednesday evening session from the Streetwise venue. The numbers are already starting to grow each week and its great we can offer these sessions at other venues.

Wareings of Wrea Green and J & M Cars Wheelchair Rugby Programme

The Wheelchair Rugby Programme is continuing to grow and strengthen with new participants joining.

We now have 11 regular Wheelchair rugby participants enjoying our sessions on Monday evenings at AKS Sports Hall. Open to disabled and able-bodied participants aged 14 and over, the sessions are a great way to learn the sport whilst playing fun fitness games.

In September, we delivered a Wheelchair Rugby Launch event which was a huge success! We welcomed members of the local community to get involved and it was supported by West Coast Crash – an established Wheelchair Rugby Team – who took part in a skill-based session to start the afternoon. Following this a friendly fixture between the Foundation and West Coast Crash took centre stage which proved to be a fantastic thrilling game.

Ambitions

In addition to the above, we aim to increase our delivery in the following ways:

  • Substantially increase our activities in state secondary schools and for the 16 – 18 sectors, with reduced cost or potentially free coaching to help create pathways to local rugby clubs.
  • Increase the delivery of our Rugby Reading Champions programme with reduced cost or potentially free delivery. This is likely to impact most significantly on children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to rugby and in particular individuals from the more deprived areas of our local community.
  • Develop and source funding for a Mentoring & Maths Programme, which focuses on working with children with mental health and numeracy needs, combining this with a rugby union focus.
  • Extend our current community programmes of Walking Rugby and Wheelchair Rugby further into the community, with a particular focus on military veterans and any other organisations which look after socially isolated people.

Community Group specialise in aiding the enrichment, well-being and health of our communities through wide-ranging and exceptional programmes that engage local businesses, charities and sports clubs and in turn support their individual community engagement. If you would like to know more about how Community Group can support your club, please get in touch by clicking HERE.