The Big Lunch in Wales coordinator Gwion Thorpe with Morgan Stoddart.
Former Wales star Morgan Stoddart has kicked off the partnership between the WRU and UK-wide initiative, The Big Lunch, by encouraging rugby clubs across the country to open their doors to the community this summer and hold a Big Lunch.
The Big Lunch is an Eden Project made possible by the Big Lottery Fund. It encourages neighbourhoods and community groups to come together on one day a year to share a few hours of fun, friendship and food. The sixth annual Big Lunch takes place on Sunday 1st June 2014.
Stoddart said, "Rugby is the national sport of Wales and many of our clubs are at the heart of communities across the country.
"It is a sport which brings communities, families and friends together as well as helping to break down inter-generational and social barriers. It therefore has a great deal of synergy with the concepts behind The Big Lunch.
Head of Group Compliance at the at WRU, Julie Paterson added "By supporting The Big Lunch we are encouraging our clubs to open their doors to the local community and welcome new people of all ages into the rugby clubs to meet new people, make new friends and most importantly have a good time.
"A rugby club Big Lunch will also be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the end of a fantastic rugby season and thank existing members, coaches, volunteers and supporters for all their hard work throughout the season.
"All our clubs rely on a strong team of community volunteers, players and coaches in order to run on a day-to-day basis so The Big Lunch is a great way of inviting everyone in the local community, from young to old, to have a natter and get involved in our national sport."
Gwion Thorpe, coordinator of The Big Lunch in Wales, said: "We are delighted that the WRU is supporting The Big Lunch this year. Coming from South West Wales I know just how important a thriving rugby club is to the local community.
"We're hoping that hundreds of rugby clubs across Wales will host a Big Lunch for their local community this June to bring everyone together for some good food, a good bit of banter and to also attract new members and supporters.
For anyone interested in getting involved in The Big Lunch this June, free starter packs are now available from www.thebiglunch.com. Packs include invitations and posters to adapt for your community, as well as seeds, bunting templates and an inspiration booklet with lots of ideas and info to help get you started. The WRU will also be supporting rugby club Big Lunch events with posters, flyers and banners to advertise in the local community.
The Big Lunch is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and partnered by Halifax, ASDA and StreetClub by B&Q. Now in its sixth year, the simple idea from the Eden Project aims to provide neighbours with an opportunity to get to know one another better. Big Lunches can be big or small and they don't need to cost much because everyone brings something to the table. People are the key ingredient!
Getting your own Big Lunch off the ground is simple and inexpensive. In 2013 over 3.65 million people took part in Big Lunches across the UK, including thousands from Wales.
Request your free pack from www.thebiglunch.com and join the millions of UK neighbours sitting down to lunch together in their communities on Sunday 1 June 2014."
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
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