Over the last year, Cambridge Rugby Club have started their journey to become the most renowned community club in the country. Essential to achieving this goal is the role of the community coaching team, who, during this time, have delivered almost 1000 hours of coaching to boys, girls, ladies and men in Cambridgeshire. Our Community Team believe that as the most elite club in East Anglia, we have a vital role to play in ensuring that all young people have access to high quality coaching, no matter their background, allowing them to open the door to the world of opportunity that our great game exudes.
With funding from the RFU’s All Schools initiative, which aims to increase the number of secondary schools playing rugby union, our Community Team have been able to access a wider range of schools across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, delivering high quality sessions to children that have had very little access, if any, to rugby before. An example of the success of this programme and our work has been the growth of rugby at Coleridge Community College. With over 50 boys regularly turning out each week, our coaches have been able to assist their teachers, spend time with players 1 to 1, focusing on specific skills, and ultimately improve the sustainability of rugby at the school by developing the teachers’ coaching practise. The school made the final of this year’s County Cup and now boasts several players on the Northampton Saints Elite Player Development Pathway.
Our Community Team was also behind the successful formation of girls’ rugby at Cambridge RFC last season. On 23rd November 2016, we held our first taster session for girls aged between 12-18 and we haven’t looked back since. Over 50 girls in and around Cambridgeshire participated that night and every Wednesday and Sunday thereafter through to May, with our community coaches and a group of volunteers, heading up the U13 and U15 teams. Our girls’ teams, made up from over 15 Cambridgeshire schools, competed in matches and tournaments in March and April, picking up a trophy at our first festival and we look forward to continuing our work and welcoming even more girls for the upcoming season in September. For us, girls’ rugby exemplifies the true values of rugby that can bring us together and provide opportunities for all, regardless of age, background, or gender.
Continuing with the theme of Women’s rugby, the Community Team took on a new and exciting challenge over the last season, developing Women’s’ Rugby at Anglia Ruskin University. The ladies had some excellent results to finish 5th in the British University’s Midlands 2A league and we believe our coaches have laid good foundations to improve on this finish next season. Our coaches have also been working closely to provide opportunities for some of the ladies to volunteer and develop their coaching with our girls’ rugby U13 & U15 teams at Cambridge Rugby Club.
In the Spring, with thanks to funding from Northampton Saints, our coaches delivered sessions to local secondary schools to prepare them for the district Rugby Sevens tournament. Many of the pupils that attended these sessions will have had little or no experience of rugby 7’s, a version of the game now included in the Olympics, so to see the progress made by the schools over 5 weeks with our community coaches was very rewarding.
Over the last year, the Community Team has worked directly with over 20 secondary schools, both public and private, in and around Cambridgeshire, giving hundreds of local children access to high quality coaching. Away from secondary schools, we have delivered a training session to a group of enthusiastic Danish students visiting Cambridge, we have organised and provided rugby birthday parties and we have also delivered sessions of family Tag Rugby, thanks to the Friends of Histon and Impington Recreation group – what a fantastic way for parents and children to learn the game alongside one another whilst keeping fit and healthy.
From September, our community coaches will be back in action, delivering training sessions in and around schools in Cambridge. It is our aim to get into more and more schools, year on year, particularly secondary schools, whereby funding from the RFU or local sponsorship is essential. We believe that every child should have the chance to access high quality coaching in rugby and we are passionate that rugby truly is a sport for all and therefore we need to be delivering to more people than ever. This coming academic year we will also launch our new tag rugby project to primary schools, which will culminate in a festival at Cambridge Rugby Club.
Don’t miss out on our Rugby Summer Camps on the 29th& 30th August from 10-3pm for Boys aged between 6-14 and on the 31st August for Girls aged between 11-18.
If you are you interested in sponsoring the Community Team or would like to discuss booking our coaches for school training sessions, register your son or daughter for our rugby camps, book a rugby themed birthday party or you simply want to know how you can get into rugby, please contact Albert Portsmouth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing many of you around Cambridge over the next 12 months and coming along to support our Teams at Volac Park!