Community Group’s Managing Director, Simon Price reflects on the last 12 months in our latest blog  

I am writing my first blog for Community Group and what a year it has been.

I must start by thanking the Community Group team who have consistently gone above and beyond the job description in support of our partner clubs and wider communities.

The pandemic stopped us all in our tracks – schools closed, camps were unable to run and, of course, rugby clubs all closed. You would think this would have a negative impact to our business and whilst our traditional community engagement channels were closed, we identified opportunities to support our wider communities in a way we hadn’t before.

Food projects  

In collaboration with our partner clubs, local authorities and dozens of volunteers up and down the country, we were able to implement a number of initiatives in support of our communities. This included preparing and delivering more than 4,000 healthy hot meals. Having Marcus Rashford help raise awareness for such programmes nationally certainly helped and reinforced our desire to support as many people as we could.

Among the clubs to run food initiatives were Bournville RFC, Fylde Rugby Community Foundation, Richmond Rugby and Stourbridge RFC. Please click on the links to find out more about their projects.

Laptop initiatives  

With children attending school remotely it very quickly highlighted a digital divide, with many families not having access to laptops and in turn not able to attend virtual lessons. Our team and many volunteers helped bridge that divide with more than 1,000 laptops being donated, refurbished and given to those that were in need. A special thank you to Sue Gowling and the team at Veritas Digital Services for their invaluable support with this project. Please click HERE to read Veritas’ report detailing their impact across the country during the pandemic.

Camps  

As our partner clubs started the process of reopening their doors again, we supported this process by ensuring our Covid policies and procedures were robust, ensuring we protected not only the children who attended but our dedicated team of coaches.

Having travelled to all of our camps this summer the enjoyment and enthusiasm to be back outside was clear to see, I’m sure the parents enjoyed our camps too!

Our camp provision diversified this summer with nine Healthy Active and Programme (HAF) Camps being delivered in conjunction with local authorities. These multi activity camps were designed to provide eligible children with activity filled days which included a hot and healthy nutritious meal. Our thanks to everyone who worked tirelessly to support a wide range of dietary requirements ensuring all children who attended enjoyed the camp.

Steve Johns  

A special mention must go to Steve Johns. As Area Manager for the Midlands and North and Head of Community at Bournville RFC, Steve was an integral member of the team and he has taken up a teaching role back in his native Cornwall. Steve and his family go with our blessing, however there will always be a place for him at Community Group. Thank you for your hard work and dedication and please keep in touch.

New personnel  

As Steve leaves to pastures new we welcome Chris Brannigan to Community Group. Chris joins with a wealth of experience through the Rugby Football Union and was most recently the Rugby Development Officer and Head of Performance on the Isle of Man. We are looking forward to working with Chris and we wish him and his family well as they settle back in England.

You may have noticed that Chris follows a number of new faces to our team in recent months. We welcome Mitch McGahan and Sam Verralls as Rugby Development Managers at Bournville RFC, with Max Craven a Community Rugby Coach. Amelia Bullock and Ben Turner are now part of the team at Fylde Rugby Community Foundation, taking on the roles of Rugby Development Manager and Community Rugby Coach respectively. We are delighted to see them join our team and we are excited to see them develop in their roles. The fact we can welcome so many new members of staff highlights the growth in engagement in both clubs, while demonstrating our commitment to strengthening their departments.

Sponsors 

As we all know, the pandemic has affected everybody and we are grateful to our sponsors for their continued support over the last 12 months.

It is a pleasure to work with EZHRSpeed One Sports and The Energy Check and we are looking forward to an exciting future together, further building on our strong partnerships.

Looking ahead  

We come out of the last year with optimism and commitment – commitment to our clients, our sponsors, our staff and wider communities to each day provide as much support and guidance as we can to help.

We have a number of exciting projects being lined up for the rest of 2021 and 2022 looks to be an exciting time for Community Group and our Partners.

If you would like to know how we can support your club, please do get in touch – we love to talk all things ‘Community’!

If you would like to know more about how Community Group can support your club, please get in touch by clicking HERE