Club rugby lies at the heart of rugby in England. It is where the game is played in huge numbers and it is the environment that the RFU Development Department is committed to supporting by ‘strengthening clubs and growing the game in the communities around them’.
Part of this commitment is to introduce a new Club Accreditation scheme that will help all club sections to become stronger, more effective, more efficient and more enjoyable places in which to play rugby. Unlike other accreditation schemes, this one provides a framework for a club to show what it is doing, how it does it, and where it can improve.
The RFU hopes that clubs will be both challenged by the process and enjoy it. It will allow clubs to exhibit all that is good about rugby in their adult sections, mini and youth, women and girls and touch rugby, while demonstrating that this is all achieved in a friendly, welcoming environment.
The Club Accreditation scheme is based upon the six Key Drivers identified as crucial to a strong club:
- Retaining & Developing Players
- Recruiting New Players
- Recruiting & Retaining High Quality Coaches, Volunteers & Referees
- Effective & Efficient Facilities
- Effective & Efficient Management and Governance
- Integration with the Local Community
Each of these Key Drivers, together with the Core Values of the game, is represented within the Club Accreditation scheme and together they represent the component parts of a strong, sustainable club.
The scheme is straightforward and designed to both recognise and assist a club to continually improve, while demonstrating a real commitment to providing all that’s best in rugby union. The RFU’s Community Game Board, a partnership between executive staff and volunteers, sees the scheme as an exciting development in the way the RFU supports its member clubs.
Said Steve Grainger, Rugby Development Director: "In the lead up to Rugby World Cup 2015 we are all aware that our clubs are at the forefront in growing and developing the game. We want to help them to make sure they are at the very heart of their communities, welcoming new players and volunteers, while developing those they already have. To do this successfully they will all be looking to provide the kind of facilities that attract members and to a club that is well run.
Said Dave Stubley, Club Management & Volunteer Manager: “We now have over 600 clubs accredited under the new RFU Accreditation Scheme that was launched in 2012. We had to ensure that the new system was simpler for clubs than the previous Seal of Approval procedure, which ended with the launch of the new RFU Accreditation Scheme.
Club Accreditation will bring many advantages for your club, including the Sport England Clubmark for your mini and youth section. It will give your club credibility with local authorities and educational establishments and confer the status of the RFU brand to attract potential sponsors.
Contact your Rugby Development Officer (RDO) to register your interest in the Club Accreditation scheme.
Your club will be required to undertake a simple self review of activities. This can be done before you meet with the RDO or you can do this together. Since this is your accreditation, the RDO will simply “coach” you through the session, asking relevant questions and details to strengthen your review.
The self review process can be completed by any club regardless of size or whether it caters for minis and juniors, women and girls.
If, however, your club does have a mini and junior section there are additional criteria which need to be addressed alongside the main criteria, mostly addressing safeguarding. And if you have women and girls playing and training there are other specific criteria to be looked at. Therefore it will make sense to address all three sets of criteria together if appropriate. Your club will be recognised for its work with each or all of the three sections.
Clubs will also have the opportunity to celebrate their accreditation locally with their RDO and Constituent Body, while the RFU will publish the list of accredited clubs bi-monthly throughout the year in Touchline and on rfu.com.
A Way of Life
Clubs will be expected to undertake an annual self review as part of the accreditation process with a more formal review with the RDO every two years. This process will form part of the club’s annual development planning process.