Richmond Rugby has won the prestigious Rhino Grassroots Rugby Award for its work in the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A refugee programme in Austria, a women’s rugby initiative in Czech Republic and a mixed ability rugby team in England were all worthy contenders for this year’s Rhino Grassroots Rugby Award, but Richmond Rugby have taken the 2020 title for their amazing community-minded work during lockdown.

The club has marshalled its resources to supply school lunches during the vacation and lockdown, and collected essential items for community distribution, while still managing to keep its minis and juniors as active as possible.

Presenting the award, Rhino CEO Reg Clark said: “The world of rugby generally can be proud of the many clubs who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve their communities during the pandemic, and Richmond are in a sense representing them all in receiving this award. No one can have done more in this respect than they have, however, and they are worthy winners."

Richmond Rugby’s Head of Community, Dom Palacio: “We are delighted to receive this recognition – I am very proud of the work my team has achieved in delivering meals to school children throughout the holidays and in collecting food and tech essentials for public distribution during the pandemic. In addition, we have worked extremely hard to keep our mini and junior rugby sections going to the best of our ability during a challenging period. This has all been made possible by the continued partnership with Community Group who are the driving force behind our community engagement and with them we continue to support our community and club in these incredibly testing times.”

Matt Price, Founder of Community Group, said: “We are proud of our relationship with Richmond Rugby and the unselfish work from many volunteers who have come together to support the wider community.”

Richmond President Chris Mills added: “We are honoured to have been chosen to receive this award. The other nominees are all very worthy causes and demonstrate the power and impact of the rugby family throughout the community, especially at times like these. My congratulations must go to Dom Palacio and his team of volunteers, and to our club partner Community Group for their exceptional support. This award highlights everything that Richmond stands for, from our minis and youth, to our first-team squads, we are a true community club. Thank you Rhino for the outstanding recognition.”

Runner-up for the Award this year was the Rugby Opens Borders Project, which has used rugby to assist in welcoming and assimilating refugees in Austria. The other Finalists were Czech Strong Girls, a pioneering project to promote girls rugby in the Prague area, and Witney Wolves, an inspirational Special Educational Needs/mixed ability rugby section within Witney RFC in Oxfordshire.

The Rhino Grassroots Rugby Award, now in its sixth year recognises clubs, organisations and individuals globally who show the true spirit of rugby at community level. Richmond are the second UK based winner following TAG Rugby Trust in the Award’s inaugural year.


Past Winners:

2015                TAG RUGBY TRUST (UK)
2016                KAMPUCHEA BALOPP (Cambodia)
2017                SKRUM (Eswatini/Swaziland)
2018                SHIBUYA INTERNATIONAL RUGBY CLUB (Japan)
2019                KHELO RUGBY (India) 

Alex Mead
Tagged: Awards