The Haringey Rhinos are helping nurture the next generation of rugby stars

2022 has certainly been the year for women’s sport in England. The Lionesses won the Euros, the women’s England squad shone at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and now the Red Roses are favorites to win the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand this month.

However, this elite-level success for women’s sport rests on a strong foundation of grassroots projects across the country that help develop and nurture talent in all age groups.

As part of the build-up to the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, which kicks off on October 8, the National Lottery highlights how its players have contributed over £94.6m to support over 3,200 projects rugby union in the UK since 1994. , including vital support for hundreds of projects that develop women’s and women’s rugby – from grassroots to top flight. This includes funding the Rugby Football Union in England to support the growth of women’s rugby.

Projects like Haringey Rhinos in Wood Green, north London, are among thousands of projects across the UK working their magic locally to grow women’s and women’s rugby, thanks to the support of National Lottery funding .

The Haringey Rhinos are helping nurture the next generation of rugby stars

The club launched their junior section in 2011 and have grown exponentially since then and now boast the biggest women’s team in Middlesex.

And with Rhinos based in one of London’s most deprived areas, the club’s free memberships for young people provide a great pathway to sport and regular participation in a supportive environment.

The organization has received over £30,000 in funding from the National Lottery and chair Helen Rayfield is delighted with what they have achieved.

“What makes us different is that we do all of our youth stuff for free, and that’s where National Lottery funding comes in,” Rayfield said.

“We used to charge a nominal ten, so the kids were club members, but I’ve been waiting for all of that now.

“What I do is I raise around £10,000 a year to pay for everything. We are in the poorest area of ​​Haringey, which is the fourth poorest borough in London.

“So if I charged what other rugby clubs charge, over £80 a year, we wouldn’t have kids.

“We just want people to show up and play rugby. We are a grassroots community rugby club offering rugby to anyone interested in playing, regardless of age or ability.

And Rayfield believes greater exposure of women’s football and a successful World Cup for local nations will help the Rhinos for years to come.

“Bringing rugby into the local community is a real challenge for people who may have never heard of the game and that’s where I hope the World Cup will really raise the profile of women and men. girls,” she said.

“I would say we now have more girls and more teenage girls than teenage boys and that’s a direct result of the engagement work we’ve done in schools through National Lottery funding.”

The Haringey Rhinos are helping nurture the next generation of rugby stars

Former England player and Rugby World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi MBE sat down with the club this week, to see for herself how National Lottery funding is positively impacting women’s participation at the club . Maggie herself has reaped the rewards of National Lottery funding throughout her career and knows only too well the positive impact this funding can have.

Before announcing her international retirement in 2014, she represented her country 74 times, scored 28 tries, won a World Cup and helped England to a record seven straight Six Nations crowns.

Alphonsi’s childhood was far from conventional as she was in and out of hospital as a young girl after being born with a clubfoot.

She grew up on a council estate in Lewisham as a single parent, which meant finances were tight and she was forced to work multiple jobs – until the National Lottery and their support changed her life.

“The support he has given me over the years has been great,” Alphonsi said.

“I was on the path to talent and it basically helped me cover my expenses, my medical support, my training and allowed me to balance school life with being an athlete. allowed me to be able to afford kit, I didn’t have the money to do that. It allowed me to have the training boots, the shorts, the tops, to participate and helped me to to be the athlete that I could be.

Highlighting the importance of funding in developing a grassroots rugby union for women and girls, Alphonsi, 38, said: “It is important to reflect on how National Lottery funding over the years has played a pivotal role in nurturing and nurturing talent for the future, and helped advance the sport among thousands of women and girls across the UK – from grassroots to elite.

“It has undoubtedly contributed to the growth of the game among women and girls and has contributed significantly to the increased levels of professionalism that we see today.

“I am forever grateful for the opportunities rugby has given me in life. Whether it’s the sense of community that each of the teams and clubs I’ve played for has instilled in me, or the life skills, team ethic, responsibility and leadership he showed me, on and off the pitch – I owe a lot to sport.

“That’s why I’m delighted to highlight and support the impact National Lottery funding has had on rugby clubs and projects across the UK.”

National Lottery players raise over £30m a week for good causes, including vital funding for sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make incredible reality on: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

About Mary Moser

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