Richmond Rugby’s Head of Community, Dom Palacio provides an update in his latest blog for Community Group

With the ever-changing circumstances around the Coronavirus pandemic, we have been in two lockdowns since my last blog and are still in the third one! So, all rugby activity had to stop again in January including any proposed schoolwork we were due to start, which is a real shame as we had multiple schools ready for our coaches to return.

Over the Christmas school holidays – as previously mentioned in my last blog – we ran our free school meal initiative again, including cooking and delivering a meal to entire families on Christmas Day. By the end of the holidays, we had cooked and delivered more than 2,500 meals since the start of the pandemic.

With the announcement from the government that all schools in England would remain shut until at least half term, on my first day back after the Christmas break, I put plans in place to start a second-hand tech collection point at the club every Saturday morning throughout January.

I discovered that one of the Richmond players – Charlie Gowling – worked for a tech refurbishment company called Veritas Digital and their founder and aunt of Charlie – Sue Gowling – agreed a heavily subsidised fee to refurbish all the donated items. I then reached out to local schools to enquire as to the demand for providing a laptop or tablet to the children most in need. After four weeks of this initiative, we have collected 700 devices from various sources including 50 donated by the RFU – more than 150 of which have now been delivered to local schools.

During the latest lockdown, some of the community coaches have been running virtual Zoom sessions to mini and youth team members of the club. We also launched the All Club 1861 challenge. With 2021 being the 160th anniversary of Richmond FC, I thought it a good idea to encourage the whole club to be active throughout January with a fitness challenge – raising money for NHS Charities. More than 150 playing members of the club clocked over 1 million kilometres throughout the challenge and raised over £3,000 for the NHS.

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