Gloucester Rugby Community team yesterday evening (Wednesday 29th April) received the highly commended innovation award at the annual Parliamentary Rugby Union Citizenship Awards for their Onside programme.
The Onside programme was launched in January and is a revolutionary new scheme aimed at 16-18 year olds and is designed to improve confidence, communication skills, physical fitness and self-esteem in order to assist them into further education, training or employment.
The project is a partnership between Gloucester Rugby, Prospect Training, Wooden Spoon and TNT who have sponsored the programme.
Gary Little, Gloucester Rugby Community Manager, said:
"We are delighted to have received this award and the recognition for our community work. Gloucester Rugby is very much a community club and we run a whole range of programmes that support the development of the game, encouraging kids to learn to love and play it to the best of their ability and educational programmes that promote health and wellbeing".
"The Onside programme is a new and innovative scheme and although it is still in the pilot phase we have received much positive feedback. We hope that with ongoing support and funding we can continue to deliver the programme next season and seasons to come".
Mike Tindall, adding his support as programme ambassador said:
"As a youngster there were plenty of distractions centred around anti-social behaviour - but through sport and rugby in particular, I found a drive and an energy to focus on something extremely positive in my life."
"If, in any way possible, I can provide encouragement, a positive role model and an ambassadorial role then I am delighted to do so. This scheme is vital to the young people of Gloucester and everyone has be working extremely hard to make it a success."
Andy Reed MP, who has been a judge for all four years of its existence said:
"The sophistication and breadth of the projects being undertaken at the Guinness Premiership clubs is fantastic. There are a clutch of clubs who have shown they are excellent delivery partners for private and public sector organisations."
At the evening reception in the House of Commons, three additional awards were also re-presented.
Saracens, received the Community Club of the Year award, whilst Bristol Rugby were presented with the Innovation Award for their 'Bright Sparks' scheme, whilst Worcester Warriors received the Impact Award for their 'npower Tag' programme.
Miriam Sherlock, Editor of SportBusiness magazine, presented Saracens with the SportBusiness CSR Award for their rapidly growing dance programme.
The panel consisted of Derek Wyatt, MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (Chair), Paul Farrelly, MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive of Premier Rugby, Andy Reed, MP for Loughborough and Miriam Sherlock, Editor of SportBusiness magazine.
As Gloucester prepare for their 39th game of the season, against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday, David Humphreys told the local media that this week has been all about getting the players mentally and physically ready after a tough game against Connacht last Sunday.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-32 victory over Connacht on Sunday, skipper Billy Twelvetrees explained that Gloucester had had to learn to be patient and cut out the errors to earn the win and progress to next weekend's final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Premiership Rugby have this morning confirmed the order of fixtures for the 2015/16 season, and Gloucester Rugby will start their campaign at Kingston Park, taking on Newcastle Falcons on Friday 16 October, 19:45.