England rugby has core values of Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship. These are super important but, in my view, there is more to consider. Let me explain.
Our sausage factory is right next door to Newton Abbot Rugby Football Club (NARFC). Approx. 50,000 people live within 5 miles of the club, and the Local Authority Teignbridge has put forward plans for building a further 15,020 homes in the area.
If you are building housing, then communities need to be built at the same time. These new residents need to feel part of the framework in local society. The values of the NARFC could not be more relevant. The club offers a welcome to all ages, abilities, and genders. In addition to Rugby the club has over 10 acres of grounds that are used for a wide variety of other activities and sports.
Westaway Sausages are principal partners for NAFRC and provide long term funding to provide stability to the club, in addition to being Managing Director of Westaways, I am Chairman of the Directors of the Club. My role is to ensure the Clubs strategy is delivered to all stakeholders and that the club is run in a safe and legal manner. Our involvement does not stop there, we support many of the clubs’ projects in the wider community. These include providing food and assistance for School Holiday Sports Clubs – these are free of charge and ensure that children are kept active and well-fed during school holidays, we help fund the clubs Christmas Hamper scheme for the disadvantaged, and we support the Free School Meals Initiative. The list does not stop there.
The club has 15 teams: 11 junior teams from age 5 to 17, a ladies and a girls’ team, and 2 senior teams. The team managers are generally parents and do a fantastic job coaching each group to win both on the pitch and off. Funding from Westaways has meant all the players in every team wear the same kit. Last weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a buffet lunch for partners and sponsors of the club. I canvassed them about why they were prepared to support the club. The response was the same. “My children love coming to the club, it is safe, inclusive, well managed and encourages them to meet other friends and be active – away from their gaming!” The skills and experience they are gaining will be valuable to them in whatever they do.
I would suggest that this has never been so important as we get over the restrictions that have been forced upon us by Covid.
The club is now looking to build on the achievements of the last two years and purchase the grounds it leases. With this done the club can draw up longer term plans to build all weather facilities and a new club house, changing rooms and gym. This will provide further benefit to the community.
What is not to like about this?