Following Rugby World Cup 2015, the RFU is focusing on the legacy of the tournament both on and off the pitch. A particular part of this is a commitment to supporting and developing young ambassadors in the game to become future influencers and leaders.
The Young Rugby Ambassador (YRA) programme has been relaunched for 2016. Through partnering with vInspired, a leading youth social action charity, volunteers aged between 14 and 25 years old can now log their hours online and receive incentives and rewards for the time they have invested in developing rugby in their local community.
The RFU is encouraging YRAs to get involved in a range of volunteer opportunities, both on and off the pitch including event management, fundraising, refereeing, coaching and as leaders in their school or college. Providing a flexible approach to getting involved, the new programme is open to all young people involved in rugby whether they are in school, college, university or part of a community rugby club.
To coincide with the re-launch, the RFU is making a pledge to the #iwill campaign to provide support and opportunities to future leaders of rugby. Maximising opportunities to promote the game through Rugby World Cup 2015, and the following years to Rugby World Cup 2019, the RFU is committed to embedding and expanding the role young people play through rugby volunteering.
Through the #iwill campaign, led by the charity Step Up to Serve, the RFU pledges to:
- Give young people a voice in rugby through the Young Rugby Ambassador, National Youth Council and Spirit of Rugby programmes
- Celebrate young people who are taking a lead in developing youth social action via the RFU Volunteering Recognition and Reward programme and further opportunities. We will also support young people to have a voice in decision making across the game.
- Act as an ambassador for the #iwill campaign across projects and events to raise the profile of our pledge.
England Sevens player Rachael Burford has similarly made a pledge to grow the game:
“I pledge to create a female rugby academy to help strengthen the growth of the women and girls game. I started rugby aged 6, thanks to my local rugby club where I had lots of playing and training opportunities. The young Rugby Ambassadors have the ability to inspire change in their own community. Young people’s involvement in the decision making process around the shaping of the game is important to ensure our sport is truly accessible for all.”
Click here to listen to a video message from Rachael.
At the YRA Leadership Conference in April 2016, all YRAs attending will be encouraged to make their personal pledge and share what they will aspire to achieve as a young volunteer in rugby and to have an impact in their local community.
For more information on the YRA programme, or for case studies on current Young Rugby Ambassadors, please visit here or keep up to date with their activity on Twitter and Instagram via @RFUYouth.
Report courtesy of the RFU.