'The Pack' will be at the heart of RWC 2015
The strong culture of volunteering in the United Kingdom will provide a massive boost to the delivery of Rugby World Cup 2015, explains Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society.
When England captain Chris Robshaw leads his team out at Twickenham this weekend against Ireland, he will have his first coaches at Warlingham RFC to thank for starting him on his journey to the top when he was just seven years old.
I don’t know Chris personally but I doubt he has forgotten the people that set him on the road to the ultimate honour of leading his country, and among the 6,000 volunteers that England Rugby 2015 are recruiting to be part of ‘The Pack’ it’s great to see that the vast majority will come from rugby’s grassroots, where so many put in huge time and effort to grow the Game in their local areas.
We are blessed in the United Kingdom to have a strong tradition of volunteering and I can’t think of a single successful sporting event where volunteers have not been the beating heart making it all happen.
The ‘Games Makers’, the volunteers who made such a big contribution to the successful delivery of the London 2012 Olympic Games, will never be forgotten and their efforts helped change the way that British people thought about volunteers and volunteering in sport.
We were given an incredible catalyst two years ago and since then thousands of people from across the country have been inspired to volunteer, and it’s worth noting that volunteering is on the rise here.
In the year after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the proportion of people volunteering at least once a year saw a significant increase from 65 per cent to 72 per cent, with an equivalent increase in the proportion of people volunteering regularly. This equates to millions more people volunteering with a huge percentage coming through sport.
The England 2015 organising committee has a superb opportunity to create its own piece of sporting history and engage the nation in a sport that is becoming ever more popular.
I know that the 6,000 volunteers they will recruit will do a wonderful job of welcoming the anticipated 400,000 overseas visitors to the tournament and giving them an experience they will never forget, and I am pleased to see that Debbie Jevans, her team and the RFU are also already thinking about legacy and how to keep their volunteers involved in the Game beyond 2015.
That part of the jigsaw is vital and the government will do all we can to support their efforts.
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