Saturday, 17 May 2008

Parliamentary Citizenship Awards

I was stalking the corridors of power this week. Well, what I really mean is I was lucky enough to enjoy a few drinks in great company somewhere deep in the Houses of Parliament. How on earth did that happen?

I am one of the judges for this year's Rugby in the community awards. Glasshouse Partnership organised this and I was delighted when they asked me to be involved.

As a panel, we had three decisions to make. We needed to decide the winners of the Impact award, the Innovation award, and we had to draw up a shortlist of clubs for the club of the year. I'm not a big fan of rugby but I was really keen to find out how a well known local brand, such as a rugby club, seeks to integrate with the local community.

We reviewed materials that clubs submitted through Business in the Community’s Clubs that Count tracker and shortlisted Bath, Saracens and Newcastle for Club of the year.

Bristol Rugby won the Innovation Award (for an innovative new programme started in the past 12 months) for its Inferno Programme, which tackles social inclusion by teaching rugby (and life) skills to young offenders at HMP Ashfield. Bath Rugby and Sale Sharks were also highly commended for their Language Through Sport and School of Hard Knocks programmes respectively.

Newcastle Falcons won the Impact Award (for an established programme able to demonstrate the positive impact it’s making on its community) for its Touch Rugby programme, which gets 950 adults active each year (40% of which are female, 35% of which haven’t done any form of physical activity in past year). Bath Rugby was also highly commended for its Wilts / Sportsmatch Girls Rugby Programme.

The awards were presented at the Houses of Parliament last Tuesday. It was a real pleasure to celebrate the success of the inspiring people that run these excellent programmes.

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