East London's newest women's rugby club has received financial sponsorship from The Royal Bank of Scotland as it looks to capitalise on increased interest in the sport from the local community.
(Media-Newswire.com) - East London’s newest women’s rugby club has received financial sponsorship from The Royal Bank of Scotland as it looks to capitalise on increased interest in the sport from the local community.
The club, East London Women’s Rugby Club ( EL WRFC ), is based a stone’s throw from the Olympic Park in West Ham and was started in 2012. Run by Dave Thomas, chairman of The East London Woman’s Rugby Football Club, and Fiona Pocock, England international rugby star and now coach of the new women’s team, it shares its ground with its male counterpart, East London Rugby Club. The club has long been connected with promoting equality in sport and giving back to the community and was the base of the world’s first openly gay and bisexual friendly rugby team – The Kings Cross Steelers.
Interest in women’s rugby has gained momentum in recent years - thanks in no small part to the success of Pocock’s England team - and is one of the fastest growing participation sports in the country. The RFU, governing body of rugby union in England, says that more than 13,500 women and girls now play ruby regularly – an 87% increase since 2004.
With woman’s rugby confirmed as an Olympic event for 2016, EL WRFC is hoping to help grow the game’s popularity among young women in the heart of London. With 25 members already on the books of the club, the money from RBS will be utilised to purchase new equipment and help promote the side as well as raise awareness of the game among the local community. Dave Thomas, director of health and fitness business The Foundry and a trustee of the rugby charity School of Hard Knocks, a social inclusion scheme that uses the game of rugby to teach participants crucial life lessons and core values, has seen first-hand how sport can help a community.
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