Community clubs take inspiration from RLWC2013
A series of workshops designed to help community clubs capitalise on the success of Rugby League World Cup 2013 is to be rolled out across the country.
Sixty six clubs have already participated in the “Welcoming Clubs Workshops” that are tapping in to the massive interest in becoming involved in the sport since the 14-nation tournament kicked off in October.
Over 450,000 spectators watched RLWC2013 at first hand while the 28 fixtures were also seen by millions of television viewers, many of whom are now looking to become involved in the sport for the first time.
To harness that interest, the RFL has already hosted eight one-day workshops in northern England that were attended by 97 officers from 66 community clubs.
The club representatives were provided with a range of free resources, including a “Grow your club” brochure as well as necessary tools for developing a welcoming environment that delivers the best sporting experience all year round.
The RFL will now host additional workshops for clubs in the South East, Midlands and North East.
RFL Director of Participation and Strategic Partnerships David Gent said: “The passion within our community clubs is incredible and we wanted to build on this.
“The aim of the workshops was to offer an environment where volunteers and coaches could learn how to better engage with their local community, discuss ideas and gain practical advice on ways to drive club recruitment and participation, both in, and out of, season.
“The content of the course is designed to remain relevant, and inspiring, long after the close of the tournament.”
During the workshops, ideas are presented as to how clubs can create an environment where everybody’s needs are catered for, be they long-standing members, newcomers or guests.
A guide to delivering a successful open day is also given to the clubs to demonstrate ways to attract new players, volunteers and supporters.
Blackpool Stanley are one of the clubs to have participated in a “Welcoming Clubs Workshop” and their chairman Simon Hornby feels his club gained huge benefits.
“The workshop allowed us to share ideas and learn from other clubs’ experiences,” said Hornby.
“It reaffirmed our belief that winning in terms of club success is not just about results on the field but about creating the right environment for new participants to come along and join in at whatever level (playing, volunteering, officiating) they choose.
“It has recharged our enthusiasm to develop our strategies for growth.”
Engaging with the community is also explored, along with the importance of sharing the great experiences that involvement in sport offers. Free personalised resources, including posters and roadside banners are also given to the attending clubs to encourage new players and interest in the sport.
Dewsbury Celtic committee member Claire Berry said: “It was a really valuable exercise and we took away many tips with us to shape our club moving forward. The professional banners and posters will certainly help drive local recruitment in the New Year.”
The impact of RLWC2013 is already being felt in Wigan, where Shevington Sharks have just launched a weekly Play Touch Rugby League session to engage more people in the sport during the off season.
Over 80 players, many of whom are playing the sport for the first time, have so far taken part in the sessions.
Clubs who would like to participate in a “Welcoming Clubs Workshops” should contact RFL National Clubs Manager Dan Steel at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on how to get involved in Rugby League please visit www.extraordinaryrugby.com