Workshops set to build on RLWC momentum

05 Dec 2013

By: Sport Industry Group

A series of workshops designed to help community clubs capitalise on the Rugby League World Cup 2013 are set to be rolled out across the country, with 66 clubs already participating in the ‘Welcoming Clubs Workshops’.

Over 450,000 spectators watched the 14-nation tournament first hand while the 28 fixtures were also seen by millions of television viewers.

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.’

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.