Every rugby club in Wales is being invited to open its doors to the public for a recruitment day to embrace the massive interest generated by Wales at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
The Heart of the Nation - Join The Beat is a project which was born out of the huge impact made by Wales at the Rugby World Cup
The all-Wales open day is the launch initiative for a massive new WRU campaign aimed at creating a World Cup legacy which will benefit the Welsh game for generations.
The campaign will involve key new initiatives and build on the strategy already being developed to maintain and develop grassroots rugby in Wales as the bedrock of the game.
It is part of a project called Heart of the Nation - Join The Beat designed to boost participation at all levels of community rugby both on and off the field.
The entire population of Wales is being invited to make their way to participating rugby clubs to discover how they can Join The Beat by playing an active role in the national sport of Wales.
People of all ages will be able to find out how they can become off the field volunteers, coaches, match officials, first aiders, administrators and players.
Stage one of the launch will involve inviting clubs to register their interest in the project by signing up via a WRU web micro-site.
They will register their interest in seeking more match officials, coaches, players or volunteers for their club and explain why they need them.
The public will then be able to visit the site to look at a map of Wales to pinpoint which club nearest to their home offers the attractions they want.
The clubs taking part will get financial and operational assistance from the WRU which will begin with them receiving a recruitment pack to explain how to get the best from the campaign's activation day.
The doors of Welsh rugby clubs will then be thrown open on the weekend of January 28 and 29 in 2012 for individuals not currently involved in the game to step inside and find out more.
The activation day is the first major stage of a project aimed at building a legacy from the kind of support which saw 62,000 fans crowd into the Millennium Stadium to watch live big-screen coverage of the Wales RWC semi final against France being played 12,000 miles away.
The Heart of the Nation - Join The Beat initiative will build on the existing WRU strategy which is now being enhanced through investment and strategic planning.
The community rugby focus for the future is targeted at primary schools and secondary schools to deliver more active participants through to the 300 plus clubs across Wales.
At primary school level the WRU is aligned to the Welsh Government and Sports Wales strategy of delivering physical literacy, which means ensuring children get the habit of involvement in sports activity of any kind.
This will be delivered through a new team of Participation Officers funded through Sports Wales to deliver leisure teaching at primary level across Wales.
Their remit is to work alongside governing bodies of all sports to ensure children get into the activity habit to increase their physical literacy.
At secondary school level WRU Development Officers operating in each of the four Welsh regions are then leading the initiative to focus activity more closely on rugby.
The WRU is actively seeking ways of enhancing this level of activity to boost the number of rugby session opportunities at Welsh schools.
Ultimately the focus on youth means that more youngsters will seek involvement in Welsh club rugby as an active element of their lifestyles as they grow into adulthood.
The legacy initiative will also focus on delivering more rugby opportunities for men, women and children across Wales throughout the year.
This will mean contact rugby in winter, more sevens activity in summer months, through initiatives such as a WRU partnership with the Urdd, and a new focus on delivering touch rugby and healthy lifestyle opportunities in the summer months across Wales.
There are now more than 300 clubs or affiliated organisations within the WRU which are spread across many of the villages, towns and cities of Wales.
Many towns or cities have several clubs to choose from with differing numbers of teams and varying levels of involvement within the seven divisions of senior Welsh rugby.
Some clubs also engage in non rugby activities on non match days to embrace the concept of being community hubs.
The WRU Head of Rugby, Joe Lydon, said: "The Heart of the Nation - Join The Beat is a project which was born out of the huge impact made by Wales at the Rugby World Cup.
"The predominantly young squad which represented Wales showed the world that the values we hold dear in Welsh rugby are thriving.
"We know that nothing can be achieved in elite rugby unless the grassroots game is in good shape and the WRU is determined to ensure that community rugby is protected and nurtured.
"We are already actively involved in projects aimed at increasing participation in rugby at all levels, but this legacy project draws all the hard work together and adds important new initiatives.
"We want children to get more active, young people to realise what rugby can offer them and adults to understand the many ways they can benefit from getting involved in rugby across a range of ways.
"Playing rugby will always be at the heart of our activity but there is a huge variety of activities associated with the sport both on and off the field.
"We have a duty to explain to people not involved in the game what the benefits are and how they can get involved.
"The activation day will be an opportunity for people who are not currently involved in Welsh rugby to take that step into their local rugby club and find out exactly how they can play a part in the game.
"It doesn't matter how old or how young someone is because community rugby in Wales is a game run by volunteers and reliant on strong participation levels.
"On the day, the people who know the answers will be on hand inside the rugby clubs to offer advice and ensure anyone who wants to get involved can start immediately.
"We want to make it as easy as possible for people with a passing interest in our sport to turn that into worthwhile involvement in the game."
The WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said: "The interest generated by the Welsh performances at the Rugby World Cup has offered us an opportunity to help the community game which we are determined to grasp.
"The people of Wales proved that rugby has the ability to unite the nation and we want to funnel that energy directly into Welsh grassroots rugby.
"I make no secret of the fact that the community game is one of our key priorities and Join The Beat expresses precisely the right message of how we want to incorporate all the enthusiasm we know is out there.
"We have a series of projects lined up to ensure people not currently involved in rugby are given the chance to find out what the game is all about and then decide to take part.
"Community rugby offers so much and the health benefits of involvement in the game are just one aspect we will be focusing on now.
"We have allocated funds to make sure every rugby club involved in the activation day can make sure they have the people and facilities in place to help members of the public engage with them.
"This is a meaningful initiative which will result in greater participation levels both on and off the field in the community game across Wales."
WRU Chairman, David Pickering, explained: "The community game is at the heart of what we are all about and we are determined to do everything we can to boost participation.
"The Rugby World Cup proved there is huge interest in rugby here in Wales but we cannot be complacent.
"The Join The Beat campaign is clear evidence that the WRU is determined to reap meaningful benefits from the legacy of the Rugby World Cup.
"Our rugby clubs are truly the hubs of our communities and the WRU wants to give them all the assistance possible to achieve their full potential as local resources."
The WRU Rugby National Development Manager, Jason Lewis, added: "We want children to get used to taking part in physical activity because that creates the healthy lifestyle habit.
"From that starting base we are confident the attractions of Welsh rugby will motivate a significant proportion of them to take part in the national sport of Wales.
"For adults we need a range of rugby based activities involving contact and non contact to ensure all tastes and leisure needs are catered for.
"More of our rugby clubs must become places which are attractive environments where people can focus more of the leisure activity they want to become a regular part of their lives.
"There is huge enthusiasm across our clubs to make this work and increase the sustainability of Welsh rugby for generations to come.
"We now need to ensure that, on the January weekend we have chosen, everyone knows they will receive a warm welcome at their local rugby club and can be a part of Welsh rugby going forward."
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