London community clubs seize growth initiative

The London Rugby League Foundation is set to launch its biggest drive yet to increase participation in club Rugby League in London and the South East. The Foundation is one of the many community organisations funded by the RFL to deliver the Sky Try project, which aims to get 100,000 children and young people playing Rugby League across the country every year.

The Foundation is launching Sky Try delivery projects in partnership with 13 community clubs across the South East, stretching from Brighton on the south coast, up to Southend in Essex. In many cases, the Foundation is supporting coaching delivery in local primary schools by the clubs themselves, with the aim to drive connections with local schools and encourage more sustainable pathways for players.

Over the next two months, a total of 58 primary schools will receive Rugby League coaching for boys and girls from Year 2 to Year 4. The main focus is to encourage the children to attend their local community club at the end of the coaching programme.

Nick Weston, Chairman of Sussex Merlins, one of the community clubs delivering the Sky Try programme said: “We’re delighted to be working with the London Rugby League Foundation on Sky Try. It gives us an opportunity to build relationships with our local schools, develop our club coaches and recruit more young people to play Rugby League at our club. In 2016, we delivered to one local school, and already we’re seeing increased demand with three schools booked in for 2017, and more requesting our support.”

As part of the programme, every club taking part is required to hold an open day, to throw open the doors to new players and encourage new people to get involved.

Dan Steel from the Foundation said “We’re really encouraged by the number of clubs who want to engage with Sky Try to create local partnerships, become a more welcoming club and grow their playing and volunteering numbers. Several clubs have shown a real appetite to get involved and deliver directly with their own club coaches to help make the project work. It’s a huge challenge to run a community Rugby League club in the South East, and we’re really excited by the appetite from many of the local clubs to take on the challenge and get more kids playing our sport.”

The full list of clubs taking part in the programme is as follows: Brentwood Eels, Brixton Bulls, Croydon Hurricanes, Eastern Rhinos, Elmbridge Eagles, Hemel Stags, London Skolars, Medway Dragons, Newham Dockers, Richmond Warriors, Southend Spartans, St Albans Centurions, Sussex Merlins.

For more information about the programme or any of the clubs involved, contact Foundation Managing Director, Dan Steel via the following email address: