Following an internal review by the Club Committee, we have identified that our Age Grade Rugby setup is no longer viable in its current form.
In recent years, we have seen a dramatic drop in the number of children playing in our Age Grade Rugby teams. While declining participation can be seen as part of a wider national trend, we have been unable to sustain numbers to a point where we can field teams in competitive matches, and recently they have dropped so low that we are unable to hold constructive training session.
Despite short-lived periods of improvement, such as following the Rugby World Cup in 2015, we have failed to attract sufficient numbers of volunteers to assist the running of the section. Most noticeably, there has been a lack of coaches, but we have also failed to attract personnel behind the scene to help with the general running and administration of our teams.
As a not-for-profit entity without significant cash reserves, we have not been in the position to pay for coaches or make heavy investments into our infrastructure, and as such have always relied on organic growth. Having analysed our accounts, the cost of running the Clubhouse, cutting grass, buying equipment, putting on festivals, etc. has, in recent years, outweighed the income received, resulting in a net deficit. That, combined with a lack of players feeding through to our Senior Section, has meant the overall benefit of running Age Grade Rugby teams has been minimal to the Club.
Long-term, we recognise the importance of attracting new players to our sport. We want to make a meaningful contribution to the local community, but our setup, in its current form, is not fit for purpose. Therefore, there will be no Age Grade Rugby for the remainder of this season. We will consider our position over the Summer, with a view to restarting in September. We will endeavour to lay the foundations for a 'more professional setup' that is adequately resourced, with a sound strategy in place to develop teams that children can be a part of many years to come.
Updated 14:02 - 10 Feb 2017 by Jack Smale