NatWest, the official partner of the WRU, is delivering NatWest RugbyForce within Wales for the first time this year, continuing the work done by the RBS Group, their parent company, since the launch of RugbyForce in 2009.The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), title sponsor of the RBS 6 Nations, created RBS RugbyForce four years ago to encourage communities to come together and give something back to their local rugby club by volunteering to undertake the necessary improvements. The programme has seen a phenomenal rise in the number of club registrations year on year, with 90 in 2012.
Crymych was one of several Welsh rugby clubsregistered for the programme in 2012, each submitting a 500 word proposal for club project work planned for the official NatWest RugbyForce Weekend on 2nd and 3rd June this summer. All the clubs will be calling on their supporters and local volunteers to join in the fun-filled activity and renovation work taking place that weekend.
The official panel of judges, who had the difficult job of assessing the registrations, was formed of Wales captain Sam Warburton, Media Wales Deputy Sports Editor Delme Parfitt, WRU Head of Compliance Julie Paterson, NatWest Wales Regional Director Mark Douglas, RBS Retail Sponsorship Manager Paul Dunkin and RBS Group Sponsorship Manager Martyn Wilson. The WRU provided the jury with invaluable support in making an initial assessment of all the clubs that fell into their respective regions, providing crucial insight at a local level.
Sam Warburton was involved in NatWest RugbyForce judging this year for the very first time, saying: "The NatWest RugbyForce programme acts as a kick-start to a more sustainable future for clubs. Local rugby is really important to me; in fact I've already gone back to my former club, Rhiwbina RFC, with NatWest RugbyForce. Clubs cannot solely survive on the help the programme gives them, but it acts as a trigger to take them forward and remain in existence for years to come. The Welsh registrations this year were incredibly strong and it was a really tough decision, but the ambition displayed in the Crymych RFC entry was very impressive, and we know that the renovation work that the award will allow the club to do will expand their already vital role in the community and safeguard the club for years to come."
Mark Douglas, Regional Director - Wales, NatWest, said: "Choosing the final recipient of the NatWest RugbyForce enhanced packagewas not easy. There were a number of clubs who had clearly put a lot of effort into their applications and these really stood out. However it was the impact that the award would have for Crymych and their local area that really stood out in the entry. They are truly at the heart of their community and have plans to extend their pitches in order to offer training space for hundreds of players across all age groups.For all the clubs registered for NatWest RugbyForce, the renovation work will not only benefit the clubs themselves, but the regions in which they are based. It is time for all clubs registered for NatWest RugbyForce to rally their communities. We would urge everyone in these areas to get in touch with the clubs over the next two months to see how you can join in and help out with the NatWest RugbyForce Weekend over 2nd and 3rd June."
It is not only the winning clubsthat will be assisted with their aspirations of regenerating their facilities. NatWest has supported the first 25 clubs to register for NatWest RugbyForce with £250, NatWest RugbyForce t-shirts, an event banner and commemorative plaque. All clubs registered receive online guidance and tools to help them coordinate their NatWest RugbyForce Weekend. Also available new this year is a club education programme that provides practical tips to help clubs become more sustainable and build upon the work conducted during their NatWest RugbyForce Weekend. Local branch staff members are also being enlisted to help strengthen the volunteer forces as part of NatWest's existing community volunteering programme.
To see if your local club is participating in the NatWest RugbyForce Weekend, visit www.natwest.co.uk/rugbyforce.