Worcester Warriors Community team last night scooped the Play Award at the All Party Parliamentary Rugby Union Group Premiership Rugby Community Awards.
Warriors faced stiff competition from Bristol Rugby for the prize, but won thanks to their fantastic community work as part of the Homeless Rugby Project they do with Worcester’s YMCA.
The awards, which were staged at the House of Commons, were attended by a number of MPs, Premiership Rugby partners and Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson.
Community Coaches Dave Rogers and Liam Cooper work with the residents of the YMCA on a weekly basis to use rugby as a tool to help change their lives.
Rogers said: “We are delighted to be recognised for the work we have been doing in the community.
“The YMCA residents have been playing touch rugby and some of them have been saying it keeps them occupied instead of doing bad things.
“But there is a knock-on effect from playing as they are developing confidence, teamwork skills, respect and other values which help them in their general lives.
“We have seen a great response with many residents moving out of the YMCA and getting their own places and six from 18 that we have been working with, have already found themselves a job while four have gone to college to study.
“It’s not directly because of our involvement but it’s because of the improvements in the values they have been picking up as playing as part of a team.”
Cooper added: “We’ve now got them competing in our Summer of Touch league where they are having to step up, organise themselves, compete and of course, they are playing regular rugby.
“Winning the award is an honour and now we are looking to take things to the next level by hopefully setting up an England Homeless team in the not-so-distant future.”
The Award winners were:
The Play Award supported by the All Party Parliamentary Rugby Union Group
• Winner – Worcester Warriors – Warriors Homeless RFC Programme
• Highly Commended – Bristol Rugby – Eagle for Play Programme
The BreakThru Award supported by TNT Express
• Winner – Saracens for Sarries Skills Club
• Highly Commended – Sale Sharks for RuFIT and Bristol Rugby for Bright Sparks
The Community Impact Award supported by Aviva
• Winner – Saracens
• Highly Commended – Northampton Saints
The National Community Champion Award supported by Land Rover
Winner – Peter Gore (Sale Sharks Regional Winner)