Rugby's return awaited as Shoreham and Seaford volunteers get to work

Grass-roots rugby is back in business and clubs in Sussex are ready to hit the ground running thanks to the NatWest RugbyForce Weekend 2020 and the RFU.

Back on the field at Seaford Rugby Club
Back on the field at Seaford Rugby Club

Clubs including Shoreham RFC and Seaford RFC carried out improvements and repairs to the facilities to ensure they were ready for the resumption of the sport at grassroots level.

They were among 800 clubs across the country that took part in the initiative, with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) recently giving the green light for clubs to start limited and restricted contact rugby training with inter-club non-contact fixtures able to be organised.

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This is a big step for clubs as the RFU moves to phase D in the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.

Work under way at Shoreham RFC

Plenty of hard work has gone into making the return to community rugby possible, with volunteers at the club certainly not shy in rolling up their sleeves to play their part.

Now in its twelfth year, NatWest RugbyForce is a nationwide programme developed with the RFU which provides an opportunity for rugby clubs to welcome team members and volunteers back to help make valuable improvements to their clubs.

With the programme now able to return safely, NatWest is offering more support for the rugby community than ever before with a record number of clubs getting involved in the programme this year. NatWest has awarded grants ranging from £500 to £3000 to clubs to help renovate facilities and remain sustainable for longer in these challenging times.

Extra planning was also required to ensure the activity took place safely, with the club following the Government Coronavirus guidelines and the RFU’s guidance at all times.

Rugby at all levels would not be possible without the efforts of everyone on the grassroots scene, with the hard work not lost on those at the top level.

“I look forward to NatWest RugbyForce Weekend ever year,” said Rugby World Cup winner and NatWest RugbyForce ambassador Maggie Alphonsi. “Grassroots clubs are the foundation of our rugby community and it's so important that we look after them, all muck in and get them ready for when rugby returns.”

Ex-England player and NatWest RugbyForce ambassador James Haskell added: “Although this weekend is slightly different to previous NatWest RugbyForce Weekends, it's actually more important than ever that this event takes place.

“I love seeing all the volunteers being involved and getting their clubs ready for the return to rugby.”

* To stay up to date with NatWest’s rugby activity, including NatWest RugbyForce Weekend 2020, follow @NatWest_Rugby and @EnglandRugby on Twitter.