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.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.