June 2021, Blackheath, London: The oldest open rugby club in the world founded back in 1858, Blackheath Rugby, has agreed to offer free membership to help support young adults, both men and women.
The move is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic over the last year or so which has had a significant effect on all aspects of life across the UK. As has been widely reported in the press, lockdown has especially impacted the young population, particularly the 18 to 22 age group, to which Blackheath Rugby is keen to provide assistance. Whether leaving school or heading to University, these youngsters have had their education and social world disrupted and, in many cases, detrimentally affected.
Those who have sought employment rather than full time education have in particular found it challenging to secure a job and, if successful, have found themselves starting this important next chapter of their lives by working from home which in itself can be both difficult and isolating.
Given it is well documented that exercise can be a huge help when dealing with mental health issues, free membership will mean these youngsters can come to the club’s twice-weekly training sessions, meet their peers and socialize together when they are able.
Managing Director of Blackheath Rugby, Russell Ticehurst, comments, “The Executive Committee of Blackheath Rugby and I wanted to reach out to the young adults in our community and beyond so we have made the momentous decision to offer free membership to those in the 18 to 22 age group.
“We agreed that it really is a way that we can support this age group in a positive and constructive way and, although there will be a financial cost to the club, we unanimously felt that it would be an important statement for the club as a whole to make. As a club, we look forward to lending support where we can at this very difficult and uncertain time for youngsters who are particularly vulnerable under the current circumstances,” he concludes.
Like so many sports clubs and organisations, the last 18 months have also been a struggle for rugby clubs in all leagues all over the country. Blackheath is no exception and it has been the same for the club’s 1st XV players in National League 1 as well as the hundreds of members in its other men’s, women’s and youth teams.
Without the turnstile income, spend down in the club bar and companies reluctant to pay out sponsorship fees without any match rugby, many clubs could have drawn the curtains, sat back on their heels and simply waited for the end of restrictions. But not so for Blackheath Rugby.
Despite the challenges over the past year or so, the Club has instead taken the time to develop a new strategy for the future that saw it take the bold decision to invest in the business to ensure its immediate existence and future longevity. In the first instance, this financial commitment saw the Club bring in a new commercial manager.
The Club also used the time during lockdown to positive advantage by investing in technology in order to overhaul its website and bring it into the 21st century, brought in iSport to manage its membership, EPOS and communications and formed new partnerships with Tacklebag to create an online shop to sell the official club kit and with Urban on Demand to push its club merchandise.
With all these initiatives now in place, this established club is positive that it will be well placed to flourish once the country is back to normal and continue to be around for many more years to come.
Anyone falling into this age group who would want to join the Blackheath Rugby family should go the club website www.blackheathrugby.co.uk/membership
For further media information, images or to interview Russell Ticehurst, please contact Helen Heady of Heady PR, on behalf of Blackheath Rugby,
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