Wooden Spoon Partner Club finalist for Rugby Club of the Season

A Wooden Spoon Partner Club has been revealed by Gallagher, local insurance broker and proud title partner of Premiership Rugby, as one of only six grassroots rugby clubs that is in with a chance to win the inaugural Gallagher ‘Rugby Club of the Season’ title.

Longlevens RFC was primarily recognised for its commitment to inclusivity within the sport through a highly successful mixed ability rugby project, established alongside its traditional grassroots club activity, which removes barriers for young people with additional needs to join a mainstream club.

Wooden Spoon Gloucestershire helped with the funding of this ground-breaking round robin tournament between three special educational needs schools – The Milestone School, Alderman Knight and Belmont School.

Children playing at the Longlevens RFC Festival in 2018

Gallagher’s bid to find its first ‘Rugby Club of the Season’ is a nationwide competition to champion grassroots rugby and inspire the game’s next generation of players. The search began in November 2019 to find local clubs that could demonstrate their contribution to the local community, both on and off-the-pitch; their inclusive approach to providing opportunities in rugby across age, gender, ethnicity and ability; and their innovative ways of increasing participation in the sport at a grassroots level.

Commenting on the news, Christopher Yorke, Chairman and Wooden Spoon Gloucestershire Committee member, said: “At Longlevens RFC, it has always been our mission to get more young people enjoying rugby. Mixed ability rugby encourages social inclusion, by removing the barriers to participation for people who feel unable to join mainstream clubs due to physical or mental health issues, age or disability. We’re very excited to welcome Gloucester Rugby players to the club and are delighted to have had our efforts recognised by Gallagher.”

A team photo from the Longlevens RFC Festival last year

As a finalist, Longlevens RFC will receive the skills-sharpening training session with stars from Gloucester, Gilbert training equipment worth up to £1,000, and a Gallagher-led business-focused event to help the club and community off-the-pitch.

Following all six finalists’ events, representatives from Gallagher and Premiership Rugby, alongside Gallagher ambassadors and rugby legends Ugo Monye and Danielle ‘Nolli’ Waterman, will decide on the winning club — with a public vote through the club’s social media channels contributing to the overall result. The ultimate winner and Gallagher’s first ‘Rugby Club of the Season’ will then receive an enhanced Gilbert training bundle worth up to £2000, and 100 tickets to the Gallagher Premiership Final 2020.

Sarah Griffiths, Director of Communications for Gallagher in the UK, commented: “At Gallagher our mission is to help individuals and businesses face their future with confidence, which is why we particularly admire Longlevens RFC’s desire to improve the confidence of young people from special educational needs schools by introducing them to rugby. As a local insurance broker, our Rugby Club of the Season competition builds on our commitment to supporting the grassroots game and we look forward to celebrating Longlevens RFC’s work to make the game more accessible.”

If you would like to learn more about Wooden Spoon’s Partner Club Programme, or get your club involved, please click here.