Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comMattioli Woods Welford RoadContact UsTopps Tiles

Tigers build community legacy

Figure image
Leicester Tigers have enjoyed success on the pitch throughout the professional rugby era and, according to head of community Scott Clarke, the club's grassroots work has left a similar legacy.Clarke attended the 10th All Party Parliamentary Rugby Union Group Premiership Rugby Community awards in Westminster last week as coaches and volunteers came together to recognise the unsung heroes of the game. He was presented with Premiership Rugby award to mark more than a decade of service to the game in Leicester. Across the 12 Premiership Rugby clubs, more than 500 volunteers and 150 community development staff are working hard to ensure the sport continues to grow after this year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio, which will include rugby sevens. Few need reminding of the Tigers' successful history, having lifted seven Premiership titles since the turn of the millennium, and Clarke insists there has been similar progress off the field. "I've been involved for 15 years, so I've seen it since I've started,” he said. "At Tigers we had an established club, stadium and good support so when Premiership Rugby's support first kicked off we had a community department. "Premiership Rugby have made a big difference to a lot of the clubs that didn't have a community team, managing to get national programmes together to sustain staff and make a local impact. "What Premiership Rugby has helped us to do is give us a belief that we've got a sustainable foundation to work from and once you've got that you can look at the bigger things.” More than 180,000 hours of community programming has been compiled league-wide, and Clarke describes Welford Road as the perfect inspiration for participants. "One of our schemes is a NEETs (young person not in education, employment or training) programme which has been running over the seven or eight years,” he added. "We've been engaging with 16 to 19-year-olds who weren't in employment and using rugby as a model to get them involved in education. "They come to the Tigers, walk around a great stadium, and as far as they're concerned it isn't school. The fact that they went into a classroom and were learning was secondary, they all wanted to try to better themselves and were unhappy with the way their life was working out. "They used the ethos of ‘work hard, play hard’ and also the no-nonsense discipline in rugby. "We're able to say here's a need – health, education, sport and behavioural – for which rugby is a great aid and we can help with our positive role models on and off the pitch. "Unless we have all the support from Premiership Rugby and sponsors, we wouldn't be able to do that as effectively.”