Social Return on Investment: Orkney RFC, Caledonia North’s club of the year

Social Return on Investment: Orkney RFC, Caledonia North’s club of the year

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 economic, of which spending elements such as trips and tournaments make up a large portion.

Orkney RFC have had a successful 12 months both on and off the pitch. Club memberships have continued to grow, as has the improvement of performances across all age groups.

Orkney’s First XV took out second place in National League Division 3, having faced a battle to break into the top six last time around and the club aspires to break into Division 2.

Commitment to both games and training have been acknowledged, with players facing regular trips to Scotland’s central belt for fixtures.

This improvement has driven up interest in the club. Fans now line the pitch at home games and their away matches are tuned into when streamed online, thanks to club volunteers.

The club was recognised as ‘Team of the Year’ at Orkney’s Sport Awards, and was recently named Community Club of the Year for Caledonia North.

Orkney RFC chairman Willie Stewart said the community award is a “huge reflection” of all the hard work that people put into the club.

“We have won the Community Club of the Year for the north of Scotland, which is a tremendous achievement. The coaching, the arranging of the games, all the sponsors who help us along the way. This season has been amazing, we’ve almost had more sponsors than we can handle,” he said.

“The club has had a great year, particularly the First XV. We finished up in second in the National Division 3, which is a great achievement. We’ve had a lot of success too with the teenage boys teams, and also with the women’s section, they’re coming along well and playing some good rugby.

“We also have a very strong minis section here and we run it in three different places on the island.”

Orkney Rugby Development Officer Sean Corrigall said ORFC’s achievements over the past year have not only elevated the club’s standing in the rugby community but have also had a positive impact on the broader Orkney community.

“Through success on the field, growth in membership, and commitment to inclusivity and development across all age groups, ORFC has become a leader in community engagement in Orkney,” he said.

Mr Stewart said he saw the awards as a huge step in the right direction and the goal now was to continue the good work.

“Going forward we hope to maintain that level of competition with the first team, and possibly even go up a league – that would be a tremendous achievement. We hope to continue building up the ladies section as well, and continue to strengthen the teenage section of the club. We’ve now got a Second XV playing for the club too, which is the first time we’ve been able to do that – so, things are looking good at the moment,” he said.

Orkney now has a 2XV for the first time, and has this year seen continued development in the women and girl’s sections, with further recruitment on the agenda.

There are also veteran Vikings teams for both men and women, participating in local fixtures and events held on the mainland. Several ORFC Veteran women travelled to compete in the Wooden Spoon competition this year.

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