A local rugby club is hoping to increase girls’ and women’s participation in rugby, thanks to sponsorship from award-winning housebuilder Story Homes for the 2017-18 season.
Ryton Rugby Football Club (RFC), which launched its youth section nearly 40 years ago, is committed to expanding its under 18 rugby teams by 50 per cent in the coming years and is focusing on attracting more females to the sport.
The club’s membership includes more than 200 children from Ryton, Crawcrook, Greenside and Prudhoe, with the youth section now representing a third of its overall membership.
As of September this year, Ryton RFC has under 13, under 15 and under 18 girls’ teams, and less than six months ago started a Ryton women’s team. The club will be holding events and recruitment roadshows in partnership with local schools to encourage more 11-13 and 16-18 year olds to join.
Ryton RFC will also use the funds from Story Homes to support the delivery of the England Rugby Coaching Award, the recruitment and development of female coaches and the purchase of essential safety equipment.
Story Homes has made the donation as part of its ‘Future Story’ scheme, which aims to help charities and community organisations that surround its developments – in this case, Fairfields Manor in Crawcrook. The development will consist of 169 homes, which will attract more families to the area and make a positive contribution to the community.
The housebuilder accepts sponsorship applications via its website all year round, with a regional committee reviewing submissions on a quarterly basis.
Charles Thoburn, Chairman of Ryton RFC, said: “We are very grateful for the sponsorship from Story Homes – it will allow us to continue to develop our youth teams and our female players. When our girls’ rugby section started in 2013, we had six girls and one coach. This has already increased to 39 girls and five coaches – most of whom have played senior rugby – with the under 18 team starting its development this year and three volunteer coaches now on our books.
“The fact that most of our senior players have been part of our youth section demonstrates the impact that our development work has had. We continue to thank all our volunteers who give up their personal time and want to continue to grow this section and, as a not-for-profit rugby union football club, the donation will help us to make significant progress towards this.”
Ian Worgan, Managing Director for Story Homes in the North East, commented: “We are pleased to be supporting Ryton RFC with its plans to increase young women’s participation in rugby. The club is clearly dedicated to developing its players, and its many initiatives represent its drive to ensure inclusivity, sustainability, success and enjoyment in the sport for all.
“Helping charities and community groups that neighbour our developments is extremely important to us. We try to support in ways that add long term value, and we are proud of our track record in this regard and our role in building sustainable communities.”
Story Homes is now inviting charities and community groups to apply for support in the next quarter. Applications for sponsorship should be made by completing the form at storyhomes.co.uk/sustainable-story.