A community rugby club from the Midlands is in with the chance of being named the top grassroots rugby club in the country.
Erdington Rugby Club has been named one of six finalists shortlisted for the ‘Rugby Club of the Season’ award by Gallagher, local insurance broke and title partner of Premiership Rugby.
As a finalist, the club will receive a ‘skills-sharpening’ training session from Gallagher Premiership Rugby players at Wasps RFC, Gilbert training equipment worth up to £1,000 and an off-pitch business consultancy session.
The finalists were chosen based on their contribution to their local community and their ability to make the sport accessible at a grassroots level.
The club will get to celebrate its achievement at a finalists’ event taking place in the coming months.
The overall winner will be chosen through a combination of panellist judging and a week-long public vote, which is set to run from Monday, May 25.
The winner will then be revealed at the Gallagher Premiership Rugby ‘End of Season’ awards in London on 10 June 2020, where representatives of all the finalist clubs will be gathered.
The judging panel were impressed by Erdington’s passion, community spirit and resilience, including its ability to rebuild itself from the ground up following an arson attack in 2003.
Andy Trueman, community officer at Erdington Rugby Club, said: “We’re overjoyed to be one of the top six clubs in the country.
“When we lost our clubhouse to arson we struggled to recover, so we had no choice but to close the club.
“We’re thankful to have such a tenacious community in Erdington and, with some help, we were able to re-open our doors in 2017.
“We’ve been rapidly growing since and now have strong youth section and a senior men’s team.
“Our club has seen major overall growth and is bucking the regional and national trend for grassroots clubs.”
Last year, the club launched its Changing Lives Through Rugby community project, which aims to use the disciplines of rugby to tackle the growing knife-crime epidemic.
The project has been endorsed by Birmingham Erdington MP, Jack Dromey, West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson.
Andy added: “Last year, our committee started to notice the positive impact rugby was having in the local community.
“We’ve always had the view that the sport’s unique qualities could help improve society as a whole, and we’ve had reported improvement from schools since we launched the project.”
For more information on Erdington RFC and its ‘Changing Lives Through Rugby’ campaign, visit: https://erfc.uk/.