Volunteer Appreciation Awards
2016 AWARDS | PREVIOUS WINNERS
The 2016 awards presentations have been the most successful yet with
- 20 clubs nominated for the President VII awards
- 33 nominations for the Individual Volunteers
- 7 nominations for the Young Volunteers
For the first time, the nomination process and voting was opened up to club members with
- over 1000 votes for the Individual Volunteer nominees, and
- 500 votes for the Young Volunteer nominees
Awards were presented in four categories: 30 Year Service award which recognises volunteers who have given thirty years or more service to their clubs; the President’s VII awards which recognise clubs who have performed exceptionally well in one of seven areas of activity chosen by the President; the Individual Awards which recognise outstanding achievements of individual volunteers (one from each geographical group, and one overall winner), and the Young Volunteer of the Year award, which as it’s name suggests, recognises the contribution made by a young volunteer under the age of 23.
And the winners are…
Long Service Awards
Danny Elmer (Epping Upper Clapton)
Steve Douglas (Epping Upper Clapton)
Keith Tullett (Feltham)
Chris Cuthbertson (Hammersmith and Fulham)
Andy Brooks (Old Isleworthians)
Tim Cunis (Old Paulines)
John Howard (Old Paulines)
Adam Sharples (Ruislip)
Helen Harding (Wasps Ladies)
President’s VII Awards
Expanding and Developing the Game: Belsize Park
The club that has done most in working on recruitment to grow their playing strength during the season
Our winners continue to focus on recruitment into the club and this year have grown to 7 senior men’s sides, comprising four league teams, two social teams and one vets team. They recruited over 250 new players, have over 80 players training each week and have had over 350 players take to the field on more than one occasion. This year they have balanced the commitment of the social players, allowing them game time but without the pressure of having to commit week in week out. They have formed links with their local university to aid their recruitment and are ensuring that they focus on the retention of players as well as the recruitment. Players are encouraged and supported to coach the sister club, which looks after the minis and juniors.
They have also just celebrated winning an RFU President’s Award.
The Club that has made the most significant progress in the recruiting and training of coaches
Our winning club takes coach development seriously and has developed an active programme for converting mums and dads from being enthusiastic helpers to accredited coaches. This season they have trained 40 Level 1 coaches, 30 coaches have completed their Rugby Ready and Introduction to Tag, 20 have attended the Scrum Factory and 10 have successfully completed their Level 2. This club prides itself on having a coaching ratio of 6:1 in the minis, which exceeds RFU targets. They have commenced a regular ‘Talking Rugby’ session, where key speakers are invited to facilitate coach development evenings. The long-term goal is player retention – better coaches, means for a better playing environment for the children as they move from minis to juniors.
Refereeing: London Welsh Amateurs
The Club who has made the most significant progress in recruiting and training referees
It takes a certain breed of rugby player to want to take on a refereeing role and without them we would not have a game. Most referees start their careers at mini and youth level and our winning club has installed a system of mini and youth refereeing co-ordinators to identify, train and organise their own referees as well as provide training opportunities for those wishing to join the London Society.
Community and Social Inclusion: Hackney
The Club that has made the most significant contribution to social inclusion and equality
Our local communities continue to become more important to us as rugby clubs. Within Middlesex we have a very diverse rugby population. Our winners have built up a strong community team that regularly coaches over 80 young people, aged between 3 and 19, in satellite and after school clubs. Many of these community coaches have come through the club ranks, having started playing in the Juniors and working to gain their Level 1 and Level 2 coaching qualifications. The club supports their work knowing how important it is to create a strong bond with the local community and to promote the core values of the sport. Many of the young people that have been coached have found their way into rugby and use it to help develop them as individuals.
More than a Game: Birbeck College
The Student Club that has made the most significant effort in getting teams out or participating in the overall rugby set up
Our winning club is one of our newest clubs within Middlesex and only started this season. From a small number of rugby enthusiasts grew a blossoming student club who have increased their numbers 10 fold from the start of the year. They have been proactive in arranging fixtures with other Universities and clubs in London and have a strong social element to help integrate players. They have proved how a small number of motivated individuals, who are willing to put the time and effort into a project, can succeed. At the end of their first season they won the BUCS London Universities Sport League 2015/2016. They are already looking ahead to next season where they hope to start up a women’s XV.
The Club that has made the most significant progress in increasing their club volunteers during the season
Volunteering is clearly at the heart of our clubs wellbeing and even more so at the centre of this evening where we come together to celebrate the hard work it takes to put games on week in week out and to keep our clubs running. This award is arguably, one of the most important we award as it celebrates the club who has gone the extra mile to engage and recruit volunteers to help improve their club to get it to be the best it can be. Interestingly, and probably appropriately, this years winner had the most nominations for the individual volunteer awards this evening which must be testament to their achievements, and an excellent measure of how they value the contribution their volunteers make to their clubs wellbeing.
Women & Girls: Haringey
Women and Girls rugby continues to grow and develop throughout the County at all age groups and levels. This year we had a strong set of nominations and yet again, this category was a very tightly fought award
Our eventual winners have prioritised setting up a girl’s section this season. Having a number of girls that have been with the minis for a number of years, they would not have anywhere to play rugby if the club did not set up an U13 team. So, the focus was put on promoting girls rugby throughout this season. They have run three festivals for all local school age children, from Years 7 – 10, they have run pitch up and play events and have made sure that all girls have received a free gum shield and t-shirt. They have put a coaching structure in place and have a kit sponsor and have even arrange for six sport hijabs to be donated to the club for those girls that wear hijabs so they can play rugby. They have developed a pilot scheme for Gifted and Talented girls, which will help the girl’s progress and develop in the 15s and 7s game, surrounded by other talented players as well as receiving specialised and personalised coaching.
North Group: Helen Rayfield (Haringey Rhinos)
Our North Group winner decided a few years ago that the club needed to establish a Youth section and over the last five years has led the section to provide rugby for over 300 children in one of London’s poorest boroughs. Determination and persistence and the ability to look for all kinds of funding has helped the club thrive in their junior ranks. Our winner took on the Club Chair role and although this requires additional responsibilities (and stresses), the club is now in a stronger position, with a succession plan, a new 3G pitch and soon to unveil a new clubhouse.
North West Group: Ian Price (Ealing Trailfinders)
Being a coach requires a great deal of commitment, especially when you are coaching a diverse group of U16s. Exam pressure and school rugby can take its toll on a player’s commitment. Without a dedicated coach, who teaches players about the core values of the game in a disciplined but fun way, is there mid-week and at training and league games on Sundays, and offers time and energy throughout the season, our game would be a lot worse off.
South Group: Steven Fitswater (Twickenham)
A lot of our volunteers joined their clubs in the mini or junior sections, and play through the age groups, into senior rugby and then find themselves volunteering in some aspect at their club. As a current player, our South Group winner continues to support the younger players, coaching one of the junior age groups, acts as the club’s groundsman and is always willing to go above and beyond the normal duties of the role.
West Group: Paul Goater (Harlequin Ladies)
We all know what it’s like, agree to do a small job, help out in a situation and before you know it you are on your level 2 coaching course and have been promoted to head coach. Our West Group winner had just that experience. Agreeing to help out a team as part of the coaching team and is now the head coach, bringing new enthusiasm and skills into the team. This has reflected in the club’s performance on the pitch and the increase in players joining throughout the season.
Overall Winner: Karen Stirrup (Harrow)
As with all our volunteers, our overall winner has shown great commitment, dedication and energy in helping the club thrive. Currently, acting as a team manager, our winner has set up links to introduce rugby to a local school and has arranged for Saracens to come in and coach the kids and teachers and present awards. Our winner was instrumental in the club being part of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour and organising the day, which involved over 640 children from 17 local schools, aged between 3 and 16, and having (according to the RWC team) the best organised venue of the tour. Most of the children had never experienced rugby before but went away with a memory of a lifetime, with all 640 having had their photo taken with the trophy, not bad for a two-hour timeslot!!! This enthusiasm for the sport has introduced new players, not only into the game, but also into the club to bolster the minis numbers while strengthening the connection with local schools.
Young Volunteer of the Year Award
This year saw an increase in the number of young volunteers being nominated. What they all have in common is their loyalty to their club; they are hardworking, committed and inspirations to the rest of us. They always give their best and are willing to adapt to different circumstances. Basically they epitomize the spirit of rugby.
Darren Reed (Feltham)
De’shaun Elliot (Haringey Rhinos)
George Flatman (St Mary’s University)
Henry Ellender (Teddington)
Reece Riley (Hackney)
Zak Casswell (Twickenham)
Young Volunteer of the Year: Gus Baker (Wasps FC)
Our overall Young Volunteer winner is only 15 and after a spate of injuries decided to take a refereeing course. He has been pro-active as a club referee, has joined the London Society and has the honour of refereeing the U14s game at the Ricoh Stadium before the European Semi Finals. He has a mature head on young shoulders and has a great future ahead of him as both a player and a referee. His commitment to volunteering has been a credit to both his parents and his club.