2015 was another successful year for the charitable arm of Newcastle Falcons.
As the Falcons Community Foundation celebrated its tenth year, the charitable arm of Newcastle Rugby Ltd enjoyed one of its biggest years so far.
January The Falcons Community Foundation continued to run a number of the fantastic rugby education programmes which had already proven so successful in 2014/15; maths programme Aviva Tackling Numbers and healthy eating education programmes Something to Chew On and Greggs Tackling Health all continued in schools throughout the North East and Cumbria. Meanwhile the Foundation ran their first girls’ rugby festival of the year, with over 300 aspiring girls participating on the main pitch of Kingston Park Stadium.
February The U9 and U10 festival at Kingston Park Stadium saw over 600 young rugby players take to the Kingston Park Stadium while more aspiring rugby stars still arrived at the Falcons’ home ground and other rugby clubs in the region for the Foundation’s first coaching camps of the year. Falcons players, coaches and staff visited rugby clubs across the region in the club’s second ever Player Blitz; an initiative aimed at offering specialist coaching to members of the Falcons’ Club Connections Programme. Finally Houghton RFC were given the professional treatment for the day when they took over Kingston Park Stadium for their very own home game after winning the Foundation’s Ultimate Rugby competition.
March The Rugby 4 All programme, aimed at encouraging women and minority groups not traditionally engaged with rugby to take part in the sport, continued in the region while the Falcons Community Foundation once again worked with Port of Tyne to deliver a tag rugby coaching and education programme in schools around the South Tyneside area. The Foundation ran the UK’s biggest Land Rover Cup competition to date when over 60 teams comprising a total of more than 750 U11 and U12 rugby players all competing for a trip to Twickenham Stadium on the day of the Premiership Rugby final.
April As school Easter holidays begin, the Foundation runs another round of its popular coaching camps. Meanwhile as the Sky Try programme gets underway, the Falcons Community Foundation joins forces with Newcastle Thunder to deliver rugby league coaching within the region.
May Newcastle Falcons’ last Aviva Premiership game of the season sees participants from all of the Foundation’s school programmes come together for one final schools festival. Participants of programmes sponsored by Vantec, Greggs, Port of Tyne and Aviva all come together at Kinsgton Park Stadium to showcase what they’ve learned and have one final day of rugby for the season. The season isn’t over for Communiy Foundation staff though, who travel to Twickenham alongside their Land Rover Cup winners and showcase their hard work on the Something to Chew On and Aviva programmes. Summer of touch returns, inviting local businesses and other groups to take part in a six-week touch rugby competition on the main field of Kingston Park Stadium. Meanwhile the North East goes rugby league as the RFL’s Super League Magic Weekend comes to Newcastle, members of the Foundation’s Sky Try programme getting involved with showcase games and flag bearer duties.
June Two new programmes, Supporter to Reporter and Discover Rugby begin in schools around Newcastle City Centre, aimed at teaching literacy and world culture respectively to those youngsters living in the footpring of the city’s forthcoming Rugby World Cup matches and Fanzone. Meanwhile the Foundation also commences delivery of Premiership Rugby and the Department for Education’s On The Front Foot programme within the city. Elsewhere in the region Premiership Rugby’s Urban Rugby Squad training sessions get underway at parks and other town centre locations across Tyneside.
July As Rugby World Cup fever begins to spread the Community Foundation play host to the all-important Webb Ellis Trophy at a number of its countdown trophy tour stops, including their very own Foundation Golf Day at Close House Newcastle. The trophy is also in attendance at Tynemouth for the Falcons Community Foundation’s Annual Flock beach party, a day including the grand final of the summer of touch competition alongside a range of other family activities.
August The Falcons Community Foundation and Yorkshire Carnegie celebrate their seventh annual residential camp when aspiring rugby stars descend on Barnard Castle School for five days of intensive rugby coaching. Meanwhile the Foundation is pleased to welcome its latest intake of Hitz Rugby students as the latest year of the social inclusion programme gets underway. As Newcastle Falcons host the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens at Kingston Park, the Falcons Community Foundation hosts its own sevens tournament at the stadium.
September With the Rugby World Cup almost upon us, community coaches returned to Newcastle City Centre Schools to deliver refresher sessions to those students involved with the Supporter to Reporter and Discover Rugby programmes, ahead of their opportunity to play in the city centre Fanzone during the tournament. Coaches and other Community Foundation staff then head down the country alongside their counterparts from other Premiership Rugby clubs to prepare for the season ahead at the annual community conference. Newcastle Falcons kick off their season with the brand new Kings of the North competition, the Community Foundation celebrating the first match of the tournament with an Under 16s festival at Kingston Park Stadium.
October Rugby World Cup takes over Newcastle and the Falcons Community Foundation is at the heart of the celebrations! With Newcastle Falcons running the tournament’s city centre Fanzone – the most successful in the country – along with Ramside Events, the Falcons Community Foundation has their own community pitch inside the Fanzone, allowing rugby fans of all age to enjoy a game in the shadow of the Rugby World Cup. Meanwhile members of the Falcons’ Hitz Rugby Programme and young rugby fans around the region are able to watch live Rugby World Cup action at St James’ Park thanks to the Falcons Community Foundation and Land Rover.
November With the Foundation team just about recovered from the Rugby World Cup work got underway once again with delivery of On the Front Foot, Something to Chew On and Aviva Tackling Numbers programmes in schools across the region. Over 300 youngsters descended on Kingston Park Stadium to take part in the Falcons Community Foundation’s U7 and U8 festival which was once again a great success.
December Despite the best efforts of Storm Desmond in disrupting plans, waterlogging pitches and causing devastation to a number of the Falcons’ Club Connections partners, the Community Foundation was still able to run its planned U9s festival, with over 200 young rugby fans able to take part. Meanwhile an U13 girls’ festival and U15s festival with over 200 participants were also held at Kingston Park Stadium. The Foundation celebrated its own international rugby call up as Hitz Officer Joe Brown jetted off to the USA to represent Jamaica in Rugby League.