Dominic Palacio, Head of Community at Richmond Rugby, spoke to The Richmond Society on Thursday 15th April 2021 about the extensive work of Richmond Rugby in the community, particularly during the pandemic.
Richmond Rugby Community department, at its basic level is to promote and encourage the participation of rugby in local borough schools and we now deliver weekly rugby coaching in over 20 schools. Since the Covid pandemic hit we have had major restrictions delivering our normal work, so we decided to focus our resources helping those most in need in our local community.
Each school holiday we have cooked and delivered a nutritional meal to vulnerable children – averaging over 60 meals per day, we even cooked and delivered a Christmas meal for entire families on Christmas Day. We have a team of nearly 20 local volunteers who help us with the daily deliveries.
When schools were shut again by government in early January we focussed our effort in receiving and then refurbishing second hand laptops and tablets from local people every Saturday throughout January. To date we have had donated over 800 devices, and over 200 of which have been professionally wiped and refurbished and distributed to over 23 local schools.
Our other work extends to running a Rugby Rehabilitation programme for young men aged 15 – 18 years of age in HMP Feltham Youth Offenders Institute. And a joint partnership with the Met Police and the MCC foundation running a crime prevent programme – using sport as the platform to help educate children in deprived areas of the risks of gangs and criminal activity.