Social Return on Investment: Dumfries Saints women and girls pathway

Social Return on Investment: Dumfries Saints women and girls pathway

A new Social Return on Investment report has, for the first time, demonstrated the value participating and volunteering in grassroots rugby delivers for society and the economy.

One of the three key pillars shown in the Social Return on Investment (SROI) report is health, of which subjective wellbeing makes up a large portion of the overall contribution.

Dumfries Saints can now boast a women and girls pathway stretching all the way from the final year of primary school to women’s rugby and beyond.

That is down to a concerted effort over the past five years from club officials to engage girls playing at all levels and to grow the game and create a meaningful an aspirational pathway to rival the boy’s and men’s pathways.

The black, red and white have gone from solely running miniature rugby for girls to now having more than 200 girls and women involved in some capacity at the club.

Dumfries Saints Rugby Development Officer Dom Stewart said a change of mindset allowed the club to change its recruitment strategy and work with schools.

“Five seasons ago we decided we wanted to start a girl’s section here, so we started recruiting from schools at under-14s and under-16s and since then the club’s really been growing.”

“The journey starts at P7, we then try to recruit them at under-13. They’re then into our under-14 setup, so we’re lucky to now have a full female pathway, so the girls can be involved at a National 1 level, under-16s and under-18s,” he said.

Saints committee member Aileen Marchant has been an instrumental cog in the system of change. She said with the sport “on fire”, there’s never been a better time to join the club.

“The fact we have a full under-14s, 16s, 18s and women’s side, it gives that pathway and that opportunity to play an amazing sport that is on fire in this country at the moment. Now you can see how you would start off in school and end up as a professional, if that’s what you desire.”

“We’ve really done well, especially in just five years. We’ve gone from no girls above about P7 to over 200 at the club. That ranges from volunteers, coaches, team managers, players, committee members, presidents – we really have done well in those five years.”

Scottish Rugby regional manager Glasgow South, Jess Broatch has been working with the club for seven years, and with Dom for the past five years.

“We’ve supported Dumfries with some investment into (Dom’s) position here, so supporting him with his delivery into schools, looking at the transition from school to club and then developing the pathway here for the women and girl’s game.”

Saints youth player Skyla Smith comes to Dumfries from East Kilbride to train and play because of the opportunities and the group of girls already at the club.

“I started playing rugby about five or six years ago and already knew that this was a really good club to come to.

“It’s a great group of girls, an amazing, lovely group. The coaches are really good as well and I just thought ‘why not?’ It may seem crazy because I live in East Kilbride, but why not?”

Spread the word

Newsletter Sign-up

Sign-up for our newsletter today to receive the latest updates, content and releases from Scottish Rugby.


Principal Partners