WORCESTER Warriors have scored an early victory over likely Greene King IPA Championship promotion rivals Bristol.
The Sixways club’s community team beat their Ashton Gate-based opponents to the ‘Play Award’ at the All Party Parliamentary Rugby Union Group Premiership Rugby Community Awards.
Warriors faced stiff competition from Bristol for the prize, but won thanks to their fantastic community work as part of the Homeless Rugby Project they run with Worcester’s YMCA.
The awards, staged at the House of Commons, were attended by a number of MPs, Premiership Rugby partners and World Cup winner Jason Robinson.
Community coaches Dave Rogers and Liam Cooper work with the residents of the YMCA on a weekly basis to use rugby as a tool to help change their lives.
Rogers said: “We are delighted to be recognised for the work we have been doing in the community.
“The YMCA residents have been playing touch rugby and some of them have been saying it keeps them occupied instead of doing bad things. But there is a knock-on effect from playing as they are developing confidence, teamwork skills, respect and other values which help them in their general lives.
“We have seen a great response with many residents moving out of the YMCA and getting their own places and six from 18 that we have been working with have already found themselves a job while four have gone to college to study. It’s not directly because of our involvement but it’s because of the improvements in the values they have been picking up as playing as part of a team.”
Cooper added: “Winning the award is an honour and now we are looking to take things to the next level by hopefully setting up an England homeless team in the not-so-distant future.”