While Sky Try continues to grow and engage with greater numbers of kids in the North East, the projects ran with the support of Sport England by the Thunder Community Project has drawn to a close.
Operating over three distinct strands, they have been hailed as a massive success by Rhys Clarke for the number of people engaged with and the quality of that contact.
Girls U16 (14-16-year-olds)
The highlight of our 3 strands has been the Girls Rugby programme, engaging with over 700 individuals across 21 schools with 14 of the schools are still actively playing the game.
During the course of the programme, the project has held five playing opportunities for the girls at some of the best venues across the North East including St. James’ Park and Kingston Park Stadium.
All of the school that have taken part have developed greatly due to the high engagement of the teachers within the schools themselves.
On top of the curriculum sessions and playing opportunities, the Community Project have also run local development centres (LDCs) within the schools to aid the girl’s development. These centres have resulted in around 140 girls playing rugby league out of choice in after school clubs and satellite clubs.
Clarke said: “I’d just like to say a massive thank you to all of the teachers that have helped us to make the project such a huge success. Although the project has finished we are now looking at different ways for the girls to stay engaged in the game, with the intention being to steer the girls toward the local community clubs and hopefully in the not too distant future set up a full girls section here at Newcastle Thunder.
We are doing this by offering schools additional CPD for teachers to take on the role within the schools, offering routes to community clubs and finally sourcing additional funding to keep the development of girls rugby league going.
Designed to get the general public involved with rugby league, Thunder Fit is a generic fitness session incorporating some skills of rugby league that engages with participants who have not been involved with rugby league before.
Targeting local colleges, sixth forms and universities with the likes of Tyne Met College, Whitburn C of E 6th form and Sunderland University involved, participants were then encouraged to take part in Thunder Touch Rugby sessions after.
Thunder Touch rugby
Like Thunder Fit, Thunder Touch Rugby was designed to provide people with their first involvement with the game and to encourage ex-players back onto the field.
Two main sites were operated by teaming up with community clubs Gateshead Storm and Cramlington Rockets, with weekly sessions running on Friday nights attracting over 60 regular participants
Further venues included Tyne Met College, Whitburn C of E sixth form and Sunderland College with all participants now invited to enter teams in the Ward Hadaway summer of touch at Kingston Park.
Thunder Touch Rugby has engaged with 117 individuals over the course of the last year with a particular high point being the number of parents of players at Storm and Rockets taking part in the programme.
For more information on the Thunder Community Project, contact Rhys Clarke: firstname.lastname@example.org