GRASSROOTS rugby is back in business and clubs in Coventry are ready to hit the ground running thanks to the NatWest RugbyForce Weekend 2020 and the RFU.
Now in its twelfth year, NatWest RugbyForce is a nationwide programme developed with the RFU which provides an opportunity for rugby clubs to welcome team members and volunteers back to help make valuable improvements to their clubs.
The weekend of September 12 and 13 saw clubs including Coventry Welsh RFC, Old Coventrians RFC, Coventry Saracens RFC, Bedworth RFC and Nuneaton RFC carry out improvements and repairs to their facilities to ensure they were ready for the resumption of the sport at grassroots level.
They were among 800 clubs across the country that took part in the initiative, with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) recently giving the green light for clubs to start limited and restricted contact rugby training with inter-club non-contact fixtures able to be organised.
This is a big step for clubs as the RFU moves to phase D in the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.
Plenty of hard work has gone into making the return to community rugby possible, with volunteers at the respective clubs certainly not shy in rolling up their sleeves to play their part.
With the programme now able to return safely, NatWest is offering more support for the rugby community than ever before with a record number of clubs getting involved in the programme this year
NatWest has awarded grants ranging from £500 to £3000 to clubs to help renovate facilities and remain sustainable for longer in these challenging times.
Extra planning was also required to ensure the activity took place safely, with the club following the Government Coronavirus guidelines and the RFU’s guidance at all times.
Rugby at all levels would not be possible without the efforts of everyone on the grassroots scene, with the hard work not lost on those at the top level.
“I look forward to NatWest RugbyForce Weekend every year,” said Rugby World Cup winner and NatWest RugbyForce ambassador Maggie Alphonsi.
“Grassroots clubs are the foundation of our rugby community and it’s so important that we look after them, all muck in and get them ready for when rugby returns.”
Ex-England player and NatWest RugbyForce ambassador James Haskell added: “Although this weekend is slightly different to previous NatWest RugbyForce Weekends, it’s actually more important than ever that this event takes place.
“I love seeing all the volunteers being involved and getting their clubs ready for the return to rugby.”
By Thomas Williams, Sportsbeat.