Photo caption: London Welsh Community Development Officers Alan Awcock (far left) and Matt Walsh (far right) with club mascot Dewi the Dragon and school children at the London Welsh v Bath game
With London Welsh RFC now firmly entrenched in their adopted new home, the Kassam Stadium, the club’s community department has been working hard behind the scenes to roll out a number of school and community projects to help promote rugby and London Welsh within Oxfordshire.
The club’s community team based in Oxford is made up of Alan Awcock and Matt Walsh, who are both RFU level 2 coaches and have more than ten years coaching and playing experience between them.
With offices at the Oxford University Sports Complex off Iffley road, London Welsh and the community team are based right in the heart of the city.
The core programmes will involve London Welsh coaching TAG rugby in over 70 schools within the Oxfordshire area. The Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme is the first initiative.
Its aim is to provide a platform for hundreds of children to get involved in physical activity and rugby and, hopefully, a large percentage of these children will be inspired to start playing rugby on a regular basis with a local club.
London Welsh will not only be providing rugby coaching but also a brand new schools programme initiative in Oxfordshire, which uses the game to deliver a new and exciting way for key stage two pupils to learn maths, with a rugby twist. This will come from the MBNA Tackling Numbers programme – an initiative that has proved extremely popular and successful nationwide.
Local clubs will have similar opportunities to get involved with London Welsh’s community programme. The Land Rover Premiership Cup, JP Morgan 7s Tournament and the QBE Rugby pro provide opportunities for clubs to compete in local Oxfordshire tournaments, and the chance to attend the Aviva Premiership Final and the JP Morgan 7s Final for the winners.
There are also fantastic opportunities to be part of the London Welsh match-day experience at the Kassam Stadium. Rugby clubs, schools and other sports clubs will all have the chance to provide the half-time entertainment, become ball boys/girls or provide the guard of honour for the players as they come out onto the pitch.
“This is a hugely exciting new era for Oxfordshire and London Welsh,” said London Welsh Community Development Officer Matt Walsh.
“Until this season there has been no regular top-flight rugby in the county, and this programme provides the means for London Welsh to build a lasting legacy in Oxfordshire.
“We hope that active involvement in the community and the opportunity to watch Aviva Premiership, Amlin Challenge Cup and LV= Cup rugby will help build and maintain a strong support base for the club. London Welsh is committed to making Oxford its home for years to come.”