Worcester Warriors Community Programme last week won the npower Partnership Award at the npower Disability Sports Awards at Aston Villa FC, beating West Bromwich Albion and Warwickshire County Cricket Club to the title.
The community programme encourages children of all abilities across the region to give rugby a ‘try’. It was launched with the help of Warriors’ First Team stars and has proved to be a great success, with eight special schools and 120 children able to experience the game for the first time each academic year. In addition to the Community Programmes operations the club as a whole has an inclusive attitude to working with disabled athletes and fans. Warriors Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock and first team stars Pat Sanderson and Greg Rawlinson are amongst players who give their time to support the programme and ensure the opportunities to take part in rugby are available to all.
There were several sports personalities at the presentation evening supporting the English Federation of Disability Sports’ annual event, which aims to raise the profile of disability sports and the tremendous achievements made by competitors of all ages, their coaches and supporters.
Celebrity guests included Sir Trevor Brooking from the Football Association, paralympian and world Number One Boccia player, Nigel Murray, Paralympian swimmers Nyree Lewis and Sascha Kindred, World Champion rower, Tom Kay and wheelchair basketball ace, Sinclair Thomas.
The 11 awards recognize competitors of all ages and standards, schools and teams and people who participate in a supporting role as volunteers.
Carol Hart, community involvement manager for event sponsor, npower, says: “Worcester Warriors Inclusive TAG rugby programme is a great example of promoting the game to children at grass roots level. Its success is tribute to the excellent organisation and enthusiasm of Tom, Steve, Simon and all the players.”
Dennis Hodgkins, regional development manager at the EFDS, comments: “Worcester Warriors were against two other excellent contenders for the title and we congratulate the club on its commitment to providing equality of sporting opportunities to local children.”
Tom Ryder of the Warriors commented ‘ To win this award is a truly humbling experience for the whole club, it is credit to the way the supporters, staff and players embrace the concept of sport for all. We hope to grow and develop the programme further and with the drive and passio of Steve Joslin we hope to be competing for the award this time next year.’
Setanta Sports presenter, Matt Teale, hosted the gala evening.