Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Monday, June 01, 2009

RFUW continue to try to be more "In Touch"

Those of you with impressively - even embarrassingly - long memories may recall that way back in November 2007 the RFUW surveyed everyone with any role in women's and girls' rugby. The "In Touch" survey was pretty open ended and the main results (plus RFUW's initial responses) appeared last June

At the time these responses were pretty underwhelming, generally boiling down to "look on the website", but with another year gone by some rather more helpful suggestions and initiatives have been developed and a summary of these appeared today.

The first thing to notice is that the standard "its on the web" has been largely dropped, being replaced with an aim to "ensure that information is available through our communication channels". In practice this may just mean the same thing, or it might be an acknowledgement that the RFU website is a nightmare and that there must be a better way - its rather difficult to be sure at this stage. A key use of these "communication channels" will be to make sure that everyone knows about coach training courses - so when the new season starts it may be worth asking Carla and Mel how effective these "channels" have been.

A more concrete response to the survey has been the development of new training and funding to help volunteers with all the off-field work involved in running clubs. Since last year RFUW have been behind the launch of several NVQ level 2 and 3 courses of use to volunteers, and have also organised first aid courses.

Progress has been a bit more patchy in other areas. 97% of respondents were critical of the facilities available to women and girls, and here much is made of the Club Development Toolkit Fund, but as this was only worth - at most - about £500 per club (and for only a handful of clubs) its difficult to see how much difference this will make in practice. There is also talk of "other funding streams" but in truth poor facilities is an attitude problem, rather than a financial one. 

If women and girls find their facilities are poorer than their male clubmates - that they only ever get to use the third team pitch on Sunday afternoons after the bar has closed - it will invariably be because of the attitude of their clubs (who, it is worth remembering, they pay as much membership fee to as the men do). At its extreme the RFU are themselves guilty of this with their refusal to allow the World Cup Final to held at Twickenham, despite the ground being made available for all kinds of less important and rather more forgettable domestic men's (and even school) games. No amount of funding will change the reasons behind this - it is discrimination, pure and simple, and requires a rather more fundamental changes of attitude.

One final area of concern in the survey was the lack of information about grassroots rugby - and here there has been progress as 
"We have dedicated staff members working to ensure that all information is displayed on the website."
These will be the dedicated staff behind the timely, comprehensive and accurate report on the National 7s that appeared a couple of days ago then - good to see that that is working. The effectiveness of the arrangement can also be gauged by the fact that this survey response is not yet on the website at all - so I've put it here.

PS. The National 7s article does now have a picture. Guess who?

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