Wasps have donated thousands of pounds to grassroots rugby across the West Midlands following a bumper year of community engagement.
Thanks to last season’s Wasps Club Cashback scheme, 60 rugby clubs across Coventry, Warwickshire and Birmingham are receiving a share of £15,000 to put back into their respective clubs.
The scheme allows rugby clubs to receive a percentage of cash back for every ticket purchased through a unique URL, with the money donated at the end of the season.
It’s one of a number of community projects the club has undertaken in the past year which has seen Wasps’ community team engage with more than 65,000 people across the West Midlands.
The club has launched a schools programme that has introduced 10,000 youngsters to the sport – called Run With It – teaching primary and secondary children technical skills such as running and passing. A similar project called Project Rugby has also introduced the game to 300 people from a non-traditional rugby background.
The creation of Wasps’ Special Educational Needs and Disability programme (SEND) has enabled 900 children with a disability to take part in a form of rugby. Alongside in-school delivery, this features the launch of a new club – called Playing Advantage – which takes place at King Henry VI School every Sunday for young people to play rugby together in their own time.
Wasps have also worked in conjunction with Coventry Sports Foundation’s Engage project on Premiership Rugby’s HITZ programme, to help 30 teenagers who are not in education, employment or training with CV writing, gaining qualifications and work placements.
Ian Isham, community manager at Wasps, said: “The club has really spread its wings in the region over this past year particularly into pockets of Warwickshire and Birmingham where rugby doesn’t traditionally have a strong presence.
“Since the club arrived in the Midlands the number of people we have proactively engaged with in communities is now well over 100,000, and we’re starting to see the benefits of this on match days having just seen the best year for attendances in the club’s history.
“Our community engagement has also been instrumental in the success of Wasps Netball’s first ever season. This has included player and coach visits to primary schools and grassroots netball clubs, which have helped to attract regular crowds of a thousand people to every home game.
“Engaging with the next generation of sportspeople and fans is vitally important for us, and alongside expanding our existing programmes, we’ll be looking at other socially-led issues we can contribute to, such as raising awareness of mental health.”
For more information about Wasps’ community work, visit www.wasps.co.uk/community