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.
Ahead of Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture away at London Welsh, Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that he feels that Gloucester are making improvements each and every week but that there's still plenty of work to do.
Speaking to GRTV on Monday night, Pete Buxton was thrilled with the spirit shown by the Gloucester United squad as they overturned a twenty-one point deficit in the second half to overcome Bristol Rugby.
Scrum half Callum Braley was a try scorer in Gloucester United's 30-27 win over Bristol United in the Aviva Premiership A League on Monday evening and, after the game, paid tribute to his team mates for hanging in there and fighting back to get the win.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees admitted that the Gloucester squad were disappointed and frustrated after losing at home to Exeter, regretting that Gloucester's own errors had given the Chiefs the upper hand.
Gloucester Rugby is rightly proud of the work that it does within the community and is delighted to confirm that it will be working with Gloucestershire Young Carers and Pied Piper as its two chosen charities this season.