The Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership has partnered with a Hertford-based secondary school to pilot a programme to create rugby and sports volunteering pathways for Year 11-13 pupils.
Those boys who are part of the Richard Hale Rugby Academy – overseen by former Irish Age Group International and Hertfordshire county rugby player Brett McNamee – can now benefit from a structured rugby pathway, and get involved in community sports volunteering programmes.
In welcoming the initiative, HSP Partnership Director, John O’Callaghan said:
“We are delighted to be able to support this programme at Richard Hale School. I have been hugely impressed with Brett’s passion and commitment to improve the life chances of this group of young men through rugby and sports volunteering pathways.
“As a rugby player – and former student of ours here at the University of Hertfordshire – Brett was someone who led from the front and the passion that he is bringing to this programme and the values he seeks to instil in the participants, are highly commendable.
“These young men will leave school and move onto the next stage of their careers – whether that be in higher education or work – inculcated with the ethos of volunteering and as experienced, qualified and market- ready community sports volunteers.
“Society is changing and it can no longer exclusively rely on parents and past players to service Hertfordshire’s community sports clubs’ sector and creating a ready supply of high-quality volunteers, merits our support.”
In response, McNamee, a PE teacher at Richard Hale said:
“The endorsement and support that we have received from HSP is a major boost for our Rugby Academy. I know first-hand the difference that involvement in sport – and particularly rugby – can make to young people in their formative years. It can be a hugely significant building block in helping to develop scholars, players and well-rounded citizens of tomorrow.
“It is easy to overlook the vital importance played by volunteers in both community – and increasingly school – sport and through this programme, our Academy Members will be exposed to a host of opportunities that will enable them to better understand such roles, and will hopefully encourage them to continue to offer themselves as sports volunteers, for the rest of their lives.”
In partnership with the Hertfordshire Sports Village – part of the University of Hertfordshire – the Richard Hale boys recently undertook a tour of the University and got to experience some of the fantastic state of the art facilities on offer – including the all-weather pitches and highly impressive performance gym area.
In coordinating the visit, the Deputy Director of Sport at the University, Bryn Clark said:
“We were delighted to welcome the Richard Hale Rugby Academy to the University and to showcase the University of Hertfordshire as a viable educational and sporting pathway for the final year students. The Richard Hale Rugby Academy has an outstanding reputation on and off the field of play and in partnership with HSP, we are excited to be able to support Academy Players to engage positively in local community sports programmes.”