Scottish Rugby to target growth & participation in community rugby with deployment of £1M Government funding

Scottish Rugby to target growth & participation in community rugby with deployment of £1M Government funding

​Scottish Rugby has today (Wednesday 16 February) launched a £1M funding package to stimulate Growth and Participation in the club and schools’ game. The funding stream has been established from the Scottish Government funding announced in April last year.

The Growth and Participation fund, which has be­­en ratified by Scottish Rugby’s Board and Council, will see £5M injected directly into the domestic game over the next five years to support sustainable improvements in player numbers which itself was confirmed in July 2021.

A £1M package will be available each year, and is split into two distinct funding strands; Major Capital Investment (£500K) and Growing the Game (£500K).

The Major Capital Investment strand is designed to support clubs with developments to their physical infrastructure including the purchase, upgrade or construction of an asset.

Scottish Rugby currently invests over £400K per year into club infrastructure via the Club Sustainability Fund, meaning nearly £1M of investment will go into improving club facilities in the next year.

Aligning itself with Scottish Rugby’s strategic priorities, ‘Women, Wellbeing and Winning’, the Growing the Game strand forms three sub-categories of funding with the aim of supporting sustained growth and development of the community game, with a focus on inclusion and diversity.

The three sub-categories are; Women and Girls’ rugby, Development Environments and State School rugby. Club and schools are now invited to apply for funding – up to £5,000 and £10,000 – to run a project during the 2022/23 season aligned to one of the sub-categories.

Projects in the Women and Girls’ and State School categories may include the development of female volunteers, coaches and match officials and creating participation pathways for boys and girls within state schools.

The Development Environments funding stream focuses on supporting clubs to create and develop world class environments for clubs to grow and sustain players, harness a workforce and develop volunteers.

This may come in the form of projects which nurture players development via nutrition, strength and conditioning or mental wellbeing programmes, or programmes which support developing and upskilling coaches and volunteers within a club.

During the period in which the covid-19 pandemic stopped all competitive club rugby in Scotland (March 2020 through to September 2021) Scottish Rugby has delivered over £2M of funding to clubs and societies, specifically to support with recovering losses throughout the pandemic and to aid the Return to Rugby programme.

Of that £2M, £500K was distributed via the Club Hardship fund, a financial support initiative created in immediate response to the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

The remaining £1.5M financial support for the community game was created from Government funding, of which Scottish Rugby delivered more than £1.2M directly to 144 clubs and societies to support the recovery and resumption of activity.

A Kick Starts grant scheme, which formed part of the funding programme enabled the likes of Gala Rugby, who were in receipt of nearly £5,000, to super-charge their annual sevens event to host a community sports and musical festival called ‘Maroon’d at Gala’ which involved over 800 participants as an example of how funding is being used to boost the game against the pandemic backdrop.

Elsewhere in the country, Huntly RFC and Moray RFC collaborated to deliver a women and girls summer rugby series utilising £9,000 of Kick Start grants funding to grow the game in the north-east.

The remaining £300K was utilised by Scottish Rugby to deliver the Everyone’s Game campaign, which was launched in summer 2021, to support player, volunteer and match official recruitment, alongside Scottish Rugby Schools Week, plus 10 regional development programmes for boys, girls, women and walking rugby initiatives.

Gav Scott, Director of Rugby Development said: “Whilst we have seen pockets of growth in areas of the game, we recognise that every club is different and face their own unique challenges, so it’s vital that we continue to provide suitable financial and practical provision which will support sustainable growth whilst meeting their individual needs.

“Year on year, Scottish Rugby is here to help the clubs and people at the heart of our sport be the best they can be, and develop stronger player pathways and infrastructures. Scottish Rugby currently invests £3M of funding into the community game every year, and the Growth and Participation fund will allow us to take that support to the next level, and recharge rugby across Scotland.”

Speaking at the announcement, Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Dodson said: “I am delighted to share the details of the Growth and Participation fund as previously outlined in July last year. This vital stream of Government funding has been designed to empower clubs to make a real difference to their facilities and programme delivery, whilst aligning to Scottish Rugby’s three-year strategy.

“I’d like to once again extend my thanks on behalf of Scottish Rugby to Maree Todd, the First Minister and colleagues across Government for their financial and operational support through the pandemic, ensuring our community game can get back up and running in a safe and enjoyable manner whilst also enabling a significant level of new investment to improve facilities and attract and retain players and participants across the male and female game.”

Maree Todd, Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport said: “I am delighted that Scottish Rugby is able to provide further investment into grassroots rugby. As rugby, and sport in general, gets back to normal after the pandemic, this is the perfect time to encourage more people to get back into playing sports or trying a new sport for the first time.

“For this to happen, people need both the opportunities and the facilities to do so – which is why the two strands of capital investment, as well as support to grow the game, are welcome.

“I am especially delighted at the focus on women and girls playing rugby – especially when Scotland Women are preparing for their upcoming World Cup Playoff.”

More information on the Growth & Participation fund can be found, HERE.

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