On Saturday 23 October, Westbury residents will be joined by former British & Irish Lion and Bath Rugby full back, Jason Robinson as well as current England rugby player Emily Scarratt and The Good, The Bad & The Rugby’s James Haskell, Mike Tindall and Alex Payne, as they visit Westbury RFC to kick off Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour.
Recognised for its community spirit and volunteer-led operations, Westbury RFC is one of four clubs including Dungannon RFC, Aberdare RFC and Bannockburn RFC, selected for Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour, an initiative dedicated to supporting grassroots rugby clubs in the UK and Ireland. Vodafone, in partnership with Canterbury and as the lead partner for the 2021 British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa, will visit each club to host a fun-filled day of sport, including scheduled matches, pitch-side games and entertainment. The tour aims to raise awareness of the positive impact grassroots rugby has on the local community and help raise much-needed funds for the clubs, following the many challenges faced during the pandemic.
Vodafone’s Lions Legacy programme will also provide team kit and technology solutions, including video camera equipment and MacBooks to aid training and matchday analysis, as well as social media content. The club will also receive a new till system to help it run more efficiently and other digital learning tools to help it become more financially sustainable.
To further support grassroots rugby, Vodafone is developing a resource for all community clubs across the UK and Ireland available via V-Hub, a platform to help small businesses develop their digital capabilities as they get back on their feet following the Covid-19 pandemic. Available from Spring 2022, the toolkit will offer essential tips and guidance and help clubs develop new skills and expertise within digital marketing, content strategies and social media amplification.
On the day itself, a selection of Westbury RFC volunteers will be invited to attend digital masterclasses, including a session with James Haskell on social media best practices. Sports presenter Alex Payne will also hold a separate session for Club Committee members on spotting commercial opportunities. The masterclasses are designed to enhance digital education and allow the club to build a stronger online presence; driving awareness and growing its supporter base to help maintain long-term sustainability.
The day will also mark the launch of the first Westbury RFC Walking Rugby Team, with former England player James Haskell taking part in the inaugural game. Formed to encourage further diversity and inclusion amongst players and members, walking rugby is ideal for those looking to keep fit in a low intensity and low impact environment. As part of the launch, British & Irish Lions principal partner, Canterbury, will be providing kit for the team.
The club was nominated alongside Westbury resident and Club Chairman, Gareth ‘Foggy’ Vaughn for inclusion in the programme. Foggy, described as the driving force behind the club, is a much-admired member of the community. He combines a number of roles – playing everything from Coach to Kit Man, Maintenance Man to Groundsman – to ensure Westbury RFC remains a focal part of the community.
“Our volunteers have worked tirelessly to keep our beloved community rugby club afloat over the past 18 months, and this event – and everything it stands for – is exactly what we need. The day and all it encompasses will make a huge difference to our club and will no doubt leave a lasting legacy with us now and for many years to come”, said Foggy.
Vodafone Consumer Director, Max Taylor said “We all know how hard local rugby clubs up and down the country have been hit by the pandemic. The Lions Legacy programme is designed to help inject some much-needed funding and support to help community rugby survive and thrive. It is a chance for Vodafone to offer a helping hand, sharing knowledge, building digital skills and, we hope, inspiring the next generation”.
James, Mike and Alex will conclude the day’s events by hosting a live podcast recording of The Good, The Bad and The Rugby inside the Westbury RFC clubhouse, guest starring Jason Robinson, Emily Scarratt and Club Chairman, Gareth ‘Foggy’ Vaughan. James Haskell will close the show with a DJ set.
Vodafone’s Lions Legacy Tour is free to attend from 10am on Saturday 23 October, with the live podcast and DJ set only available to ticket holders. For more information visit Westbury RFC Facebook page or other social media platforms.