The aim of the RBS RugbyForce programme, created and supported by RBS 6 Nations sponsor The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) encourages communities to give something back to their local rugby club by volunteering to undertake improvements to clubhouses and grounds.
Thanks to valuable support from RBS RugbyForce partner Rhino Rugby, the three chosen clubs will also receive an additional award of Rhino rugby equipment, worth £1,000. As part of the partnership, all other clubs who participate in an RBS RugbyForce Weekend are also eligible to 10% off Rhino products and services.
The official panel of judges that assessed the 2010 registrations was formed of RBS RugbyForce supporters Ieuan Evans, Jason Leonard and Andy Nicol as well as Rugby World editor Paul Morgan, BBC Sport producer Ron Chakraborty and Head of Brand & Marketing for RBS, David Webb. The WRU and RFU provided the jury with invaluable support in making an initial assessment of all the clubs that fell into their respective regions, providing crucial insight at local level.
Ieuan Evans chaired the selection of the Welsh club: "It was a really tough choice. Between the WRU development team and myself we had shortlisted a number of really deserving clubs across Wales that could easily have made great use of the extra support. In the end, Pontycymmer made a case for themselves through their history of establishing and nuturing rugby talent in the region and their belief in rugby breeding social values in their youth sides."
Jason Leonard commented on his judging experience: "Each of the three winning clubs had really thought about the detail of club improvements needed that would benefit their own members and the surrounding area. For Keighley especially, in a predominantly Rugby League region like Yorkshire, it is even more important for us to help develop the grassroots of the Union game and hopefully their RBS RugbyForce Weekend will help kick-start this process."
Andy Nicol on the selection of Marr: "For me, the most fundamental value that clubs had to show was the impact that RBS RugbyForce would make on their community. This is not just a programme for the club, but helping the club become the focus for the region, in order to establish its long-term success. With their club welcoming youngsters from a host of surrounding areas including Dundonald, Irvine, Prestwick and Troon, Marr stood out to us as a club that really represented this ethos."
Bruce Cook, RBS Sponsorship Programme Manager, said: "The club response to the programme's goals this year has been quite astounding. The level of consideration and planning that some clubs have already undertaken shone through in their registrations, making choosing the final three a real challenge. We are confident that Pontycymmer, Marr and Keighley will all see their local regions benefitting from the RBS RugbyForce Weekend - as well as the club themselves - which is what the programme is all about. We would urge everyone in these areas to get in touch with the clubs over the next month to see how you can help with the weekend event."
Following the successful 2009 pilot scheme, RBS RugbyLink, where RBS supported 22 clubs with their projects, RBS RugbyForce saw phenomenal number of club registrations and honoured their promise to support the first 200 clubs to register with packs that include volunteer T-shirts and funding towards DIY equipment and BBQ sustenance for volunteers on the day.
From now up until the final weekend event, RBS is providing all clubs with tips and planning documents on budgeting, organizing resources and raising local awareness for the RBS RugbyForce weekend projects. Local branch staff members are also being enlisted to help strengthen the volunteer forces as part of RBS's existing community volunteering programme.
To see the full list of clubs benefitting from RBS RugbyForce funding for this year's Weekend event, click here.