England stars go back to the grass roots

Posted in: Community Last updated: 31 May 2013

Four England Rugby League stars have taken time out from training to help improve facilities at a community rugby club as part of a grassroots volunteering initiative ‘engage with your club’.

James Roby, Stefan Ratchford, Chris Hill and Lee Mossop, along with Exiles’ stars Sia Soliola and Pat Richards, became groundsmen for the day at Thatto Heath ARLFC, helping to relay part of the club’s main pitch. The stars were participating in the Engage with your club initiative which encourages amateur rugby league clubs to use the support of volunteers to improve facilities at their local club.

The green fingered group also helped fellow volunteers tidy up the club and surrounding area before sharing tales of their experiences at the grassroots level, giving advice to the club’s youngsters about how to make it at the top level of the game.

The event at Thatto Heath was held to launch a summer of volunteering as clubs which have signed- up to the initiative will begin holding events in June. So far 97 proactive clubs have registered to hold an engage with your club action event before the August 31 deadline.

England international, James Roby said:

“Grassroots clubs are essential for the future of rugby league in England. If it wasn’t for my junior club I wouldn’t be where I am today and it’s the same for the majority of the England team.

“I’d urge everyone who supports the game to volunteer at an ‘engage with your club’ event and help make a really positive impact on our sport this summer.”

Engage with your club is run in partnership by former Super League sponsor Engage Mutual and Rugby League Cares.

James Ogden, community activation manager at Engage Mutual, added:

“The event at Thatto Heath kicks-off a huge amount of volunteering this summer. Donating just a couple of hours can make a big difference and we are looking to support those clubs to encourage as much participation as possible. “

The start of the action events coincides with Volunteers’ Week, 1-7 June 2013. The week is organised by NCVO in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland,Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action. Volunteers’ Week celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK.

Watch England Head Coach Steve McNamara talking about the initiative at his former community club here