The link will also enable sport and Neath RFC to have a positive impact on physical activity, healthy eating, hydration and personal hygiene. It will also develop and support rugby coaching, teacher professional development and volunteer recruitment in conjunction with the WRU. The first year of the initiative will concentrate on junior schools in the Neath area and will start in October and run until July, 2006. Sponsorship for year one has been secured for £30,000 with the potential of a further two years.
Neath Port Talbot Council Leader, Derek Vaughan said, "Sport is the perfect vehicle to keep youngsters fit and healthy and I'm sure that with the expertise Neath Rugby Club has to offer this exciting new initiative will be a massive success."
Neath chairman Geraint Hawkes said, "As a leading Premiership club we feel it is our responsibility to provide a lead in the community when it comes to attracting youngsters to the Game. The regions and academies can do so much but we are interested in the broader picture - of involving youngsters, introducing them to rugby union and teaching them life-skills that will remain with them for ever. Through lending our professional skills, we hope to influence the citizens, players and supporters of tomorrow and this wonderful sponsorship deal allows us to do so."
Neath's Business Development Manager Deenna Barton added, "It is all about recognising that our children are our future. PRIMESTART will reinforce a positive message of wellbeing through Rugby. By also focusing on nutrition and working with a guest chef and community nurse, this initiative hopes to reverse the national trend towards obesity and lack of exercise."
She added, "Neath Rugby lies at the heart of the PRIMESTART project that sees the club use its positive influence and resources to benefit the communities of the Neath Port Talbot Borough and we are grateful too to Kooga Rugby, DWJ Colourprint and Gilbert Rugby who have also all joined forces with The Welsh All Blacks as partners in their PRIMESTART initiative.
"PRIMESTART" will be officially launched by Neath MP Peter Hain at The Gnoll on Saturday, October 1st prior to Neath's home game against Cross Keys.