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Duns Rugby Club - Promoting Rugby

10 October 2016

Duns Rugby Club, in the Borders, is a long established sports Club with a track record of delivering sports coaching and team management across all age ranges. The Club currently runs two senior rugby teams, three junior teams and five under-12 teams who play mini rugby.

In 2014, Greencoat Drone Hill Community Fund awarded £2,500 to the Rugby Club to contribute towards the costs of employing their Development Officer, Robert Grigg, on a full-time basis. The Officer spends a minimum of 25% of his time serving schools in the Fund Area. In November 2015, a further grant of £2,500, was awarded towards the same costs for the following year.

The purpose was to promote rugby in the local communities, to encourage more young people to get involved in Duns Minis And Rory The Bear Websitesporting activities and to help teachers get children active. By increasing access to rugby it was hoped this would help grow the membership of the Club by facilitating people from the surrounding areas to play, volunteer or become supporters of the Club.

The post had previously been established as part-time and due to its success in doubling the number of children coming along to the Club, from 40-80, the Club sought to extend the post to a full time position. The Club are reaping the benefits of making this decision and are seeing an ever increasing number of children and young people getting interested in rugby and coming along to the Club.

Having realised that there was a gap at primary school level, the first thing Robert did was to organise introductory sessions for P1 – P3 pupils and more progressive sessions with P4-P7 students. P5s were invited to attend the Eyemouth Cluster Rugby Festival. He also works in the two High Schools in the area and has established a School of Rugby, which offers curriculum sessions to those who wish to play rugby.

As a result, the two high schools have re-established their own teams, and at Club level an under 16’s team has been created. In a few years’ time they envisage being able to have an under 18’s team.

Interest in rugby hasn’t been limited to the boys, at Eyemouth High School Robert has also had success in getting girls involved.

Robert Grigg (Bert) Development Officer said “I am delighted with the response we have had from the children and there is a marked increase in those who want to get involved. The increased numbers do create logistical issues in getting teams to tournaments, but that is a nice problem to have. However, there is still a lot of work needing to be done and despite increasing numbers overall, we still need to see more rugby players coming through from primary schools.

I have introduced mini rugby to P4’s and P5’s after school and encourage them to come to the Club on a Sunday afternoon and take part in some taster sessions. Moving forward I am looking at establishing a P6 touch rugby festival and set up a P7 after school club, which hopefully will bridge the gap between primary and secondary school.”

Tom Thorburn Duns Rugby Club, added “The Club is indebted to Bert and the work he has been doing. His positive approach and passion for the sport has been key to getting more children interested in sport and more importantly bringing new members to the Club. He is making rugby accessible.

But his role is more than promoting rugby, it’s about teaching the children and young people social skills, how to be part of a team and introducing them to healthy lifestyles and general wellbeing.”

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