Annual Report 2022

We’re on a mission to change the lives of vulnerable children and young people across the UK and Ireland


  • Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby supported 136,000 vulnerable children and young people over the last year
  • 43 life-changing projects and initiatives were undertaken in 2022 by the charity
  • The rugby community raised £500,000 for projects backed by Wooden Spoon
  • However, children need support more than ever, with research showing 9% of children in the UK have disabilities, one in six children suffer from at least one mental health problem and four million children continue to live in poverty

Through the ongoing work of Wooden Spoon in 2022, 43 life-changing projects and initiatives in 18 regions across the UK & Ireland were supported with a total of £500,000 approved for undertaking the projects. Utilising the power of the rugby community, funds were raised through campaigns such as the London Marathon, Lions Partnership, Vets Fest and the Wooden Spoon Christmas campaign resulting in 136,000 vulnerable children and young people from a range of backgrounds being supported.

Schemes Wooden Spoon has funded in the last year include health and wellbeing projects, specialist equipment and facilities, sensory rooms and gardens, playgrounds and outdoor activities and engaging socially disadvantaged children not in education. An example of this is the fully accessible flight simulators offering young people with disabilities the chance to experience life in the skies whilst boosting their confidence and aspirations.

However, the continuing impact of the pandemic and the impending cost-of-living crisis means that more children and young people than ever are relying on these services. New research released in Wooden Spoon’s 2022 Annual Report has found that children, in particular, need charities more than ever, with statistics showing that 9% of children in the UK have a disability[i], one in six suffer from at least one mental health problem[ii] and there are still over four million children living in poverty in the UK and Ireland[iii].

To combat this and to ensure every child and young person has access to the best life opportunities, Wooden Spoon has collated three main priorities that will form its business strategy in the coming years: to raise more funds and help more children and young people through grant giving, to respond to the evolving need of their beneficiaries and evidence their impact; and to expand their position as a leading voice in rugby.

The arm which aims to enhance fundraising in the forthcoming year will be achieved by developing a digital transformation programme to improve efficiencies, investing in an individual giving programme to create a more diverse and sustainable model and creating awareness around Wooden Spoon’s 40th birthday in 2023.

The charity will also respond to the evolving need of its beneficiaries by running a national marketing programme urging the regional committees to discover projects within their local communities that need funding. And, in response to their final priority, Wooden Spoon will be rebuilding their relationship with grassroots rugby clubs through their very own Partner Club Programme and working with key rugby personalities from a wide range of areas.

Sarah Webb, CEO of Wooden Spoon says: “It is imperative now more than ever to provide support for vulnerable children across the UK and Ireland. With our Annual Report finding a shocking number of children are still not receiving an adequate level of care and support, we are striving to continue to give something back from the rugby family. Collectively at Wooden Spoon we will continue to enhance and support the lives of children with charity and fundraising efforts through the power of rugby.”

Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby, works to provide grants to help fund life-changing initiatives and projects across the UK & Ireland. The charity is striving to build a better world for vulnerable children and young people through investing in equipment and services that positively transform and enhance the lives of their beneficiaries.

To find out more about our achievements for 2022 and goals for 2023, read the full Annual Report here.

[i] Scope, 2021

[ii] House of Commons, 2021

[iii] Social Justice Ireland, 2021