Hundreds of youngsters at Dorchester Rugby Club have been able to continue playing at all age groups thanks to support from RiskSTOP Group.
The county town side responded to a wave of safety directives from the RFU to make sure both its senior and junior members can play once the current lockdown ends on Wednesday, December 2.
Club chairman, Tony Foot, said: “To be able to train and play some ‘Ready4Rugby’ fixtures we have to provide a Covid-safe playing and training environment, so this has meant having to change masks, aprons, gloves and visors every time there’s a knock or injury to attend to.
“The RFU have put in place strict guidelines for clubs to adhere to, which then allows them to function and to provide much needed physical activity for those who want to continue playing the game in some format.
“The safety and medical equipment we need is expensive of course, but all this has come at a time when our income has been hit really badly.
“For example, this time of year we would normally have just had our fireworks display, which is our biggest annual fundraising event.
“Unfortunately, due to Covid this can’t go ahead, so we’re facing a large hole in terms of funding. However, we’re hugely thankful to the RiskSTOP Group which has stepped forward and paid for the bags and PPE we so desperately need.
“This not only helps our senior men and women’s teams, but keeps everything going safely for all our young members too.”
Dorchester have 350 young players in age groups from under-six right up to the under-18s. Four boys have recently joined Premiership side Bath Rugby’s Academy, two have joined the Welsh PRO14 side Scarlets and two girls have joined Allianz Premier 15s side Bristol Bears.
Four of these boys and two girls have been selected for England and Wales age group squads.
However, despite these successes, the club’s main focus remains on getting as many youngsters as possible to participate in a sport centred on core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.
“There’s always a terrific buzz on a Sunday morning when the juniors arrive,” said Foot.
“They like nothing better than to get fully involved and play a game with their friends. It’s as simple as that here, and everyone is always made to feel welcome.
“We’re really happy we’ve been able to continue in these difficult times.”
The club welcomes new players of all levels and age groups from six upwards, anyone who wishes to attend training and find out more is encouraged to contact the cub via its social media pages or directly from its website.
Tom Lillington, RiskSTOP Group director and sports fan, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Dorchester Rugby Club, which has become a massive part of our local community.
“It’s unbelievable just how many people are involved at the club and for the young people in particular, having a safe and carefully controlled environment in which they can all come together and enjoy themselves is just so vitally important right now.”
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