Community Outreach Programme

This Saturday, before the big match, pupils from local schools including Haimo, St. Mary’s and St. Thomas More, with some of our own Minis, will put on a display of tag rugby on the all-weather pitch. They will then provide a guard of honour for the 1st XV before kick off.

These schools are just part of a wider group of primary and secondary schools with which the Community Outreach Programme have been working to introduce the ethos of rugby to children who may not have previously known about the game.

In primary schools, rugby is introduced to pupils at Key Stage 2 as part of the curriculum. Lessons are led by Club approved coaches over half a term, followed by a festival involving all the schools taking part. Now in its second season, it’s been a huge success with the children, their teachers, and parents.

At Key Stage 3 in secondary schools, the focus is on after-school activity, again led by qualified coaches. As you’d expect, the biggest uptake is from boys, but there’s growing interest from girls for both touch and full contact rugby; so we’re working closely with Emily Rutter, chair of Women’s Rugby, to show what the game can offer to them. And, as with the primary schools, there’s a festival to round it all off.

So far this academic year, nearly 3,000 children have been through the programme, which I think you’ll agree is pretty impressive. In the first year, there’s no cost to the schools; if they choose to come back, we just ask them to cover our costs. A lot of the work is done by volunteers, but we have to pay for good coaches. And very good they are, according to the feedback we receive from the children and their teachers. So here’s a shout-out to Claire Wilkinson, Phil Regan, Sam Evans (ex-Club no. 10) and the irrepressible ‘Wilko’ who also give up their own time to help the project.

Our kick-start funding has come from Sport England and L&Q Homes, and generous personal donors. If you know of other potential fund-raising opportunities, or would just like to find out more about what we do, please contact

Finally, a big thank you to Martin Worrow of Supreme Trophies and Engraving for donating the cups awarded to the best, and the most sporting, teams at our festivals.