Running a rugby club is no easy task and Abercynon Rugby Football Club is no different to any other club in Wales.
With a senior team, a youth team and seven junior teams the volunteer workforce is essential to the ongoing operation of the rugby club who provide rugby to over 100 children from the local community.
The club has recently held two very successful events by running a family day which was followed a week later when hosting a rugby festival organised entirely by volunteers, and utilising the support available from the WRU where the commitment of this workforce was clearly evident.
"We are a committed group of individuals at Abercynon who want the club to be at the centre of the community," commented Cerys Conway, Club Safeguarding Officer who worked with the WRU Club Operations team to maximise support of the events.
"I attended the WRU Natwest Creating a Sustainable Club workshop alongside other volunteers and this workshop gave us the direction we needed to improve on events we were planning to run. It gave us vital information about Join the Beat and generally about how volunteering is supported by the WRU Club Operations Team."
Cerys Conway is one of many women who lead the way in volunteering at Abercynon. Alongside Cerys, Rhiannon Price volunteers as Mini & Junior secretary and for each event the club were able to mobilise some 15 female volunteers as well as the coaches, referees and first aiders.
'In a community like Abercynnon, we get a lot of support from mothers, grandmothers and sisters who just want to help out on the day," commented Rhiannon. "This is a huge benefit to people like myself and Cerys because we're not left doing all the jobs. We also understand that some people can't commit to regular volunteering so we welcome everyone as a volunteer for as little or as much commitment as they can give."
The success of the tournament was clear in the feedback the club received. Dan Taylor who attended with Croesyceiliog RFC was one of the first to thank the club, "it was a really well run tournament, great location and good weather along with some really helpful coaches and organisers." This was echoed by other clubs such as Llantwit Major and Mountain Ash who also attended the event.
"The confidence of the Abercynon volunteers has grown since they've started to engage with the WRU Club Operations team," commented WRU Head of Group Compliance, Julie Paterson.
"As volunteers, they are now aware that there is support from the WRU and we want clubs like Abercynon to continue their great work by accessing the support we are offering. This club has accessed Join the Beat on several occasions, held a first aid course, attended the club workshop and are clearly capable of running great community events. The volunteers at Abercynon are delivering an excellent service just through their passion for rugby."
Since the beginning of the 2013/2014 season, the WRU Club Operations team has actively supported over 200 clubs through a variety of different recruitment and retention initiatives. Eighty-five clubs have accessed Rugby Emergency Aid Training whilst 46 club events have been supported by the Join the Beat Programme with a series of events receiving support over the summer starting with the Burry Port RFC Rugby Festival on the May Bank holiday.
Any club wanting support should contact the Club Support team via email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 02920 822438.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.