5 Nov 2022
Foundation's Tag Rugby Festival introduces hundreds of young people to rugby league!
As part of the Bula Rochdale! and Building the Future Programmes, supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Tourism Fiji, the Rochdale Hornets Sporting Foundation has been providing five weeks of free tag rugby coaching.
The project culminated with ten local schools being hosted at Hopwood Hall College to take part in a Tag Rugby Festival and compete for the inaugural 2022 Mike Ratu Trophy!
Each school represented a village in Fiji. Many of these villages were significant to Rochdale as places where the original Fijians that came to Rochdale in the 1960s hailed from. The schools wore the t-shirts with pride and they enjoyed plenty of time on the pitch playing the greatest game of all.
Chris Tomlinson, Rochdale Hornets Sporting Foundation’s Business Development Director, designed the programme as part of a project celebrating Rochdale’s long-standing relationship with Fiji.
He said: “The Bula Rochdale! project has been a huge success. Hosting the Fiji national rugby league team in the town was a huge coup and we wanted to take advantage of having some of the best rugby league players in the world on our doorstep. We have introduced some young people to rugby league who have never played or watched the sport in their lives. They have been provided an opportunity to play in the curtain raiser at the England vs Fiji game and the tag rugby festival was a fantastic culmination to weeks of delivery by our Community Development Officer Carl Abraham. This was all made possible through the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Tourism Fiji.”
Abraham’s primary aim since joining the Foundation is to increase engagement with local schools, “The Bula Rochdale! programme provides the Foundation the perfect opportunity to spread the word about Rugby League in the Borough and allow us to build bridges and regain positive links with the future of our game,” he added.
The project engaged with 150 young people and Abraham was delighted with the number of schools that took up the offer, “On behalf of the Foundation I would like to pay tribute to all the schools for supporting and giving us the opportunity to provide their students with an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives. It’s been an amazing five weeks that showcased the work we are doing in the community and demonstrated the power of partnership that enabled the programmes to be a success.”
The project was supported by students from Hopwood Hall College who helped facilitate and manage the Tag Rugby Festival. The winners of the 2022 Mike Ratu Trophy were Holy Family RC Primary School representing the West Fiji Dolphins!
The other schools involved in the programme were:
St Luke’s C of E Primary School – Ravi Ravi Raiders
St Edward’s C of E Primary School – Western Marine
St Michael’s Primary School – Saunaka & Nabua Broncos
Holy Family RC Primary School – West Fiji Dolphins
St Marys C of E Primary School – Nadera Tigers
St Vincent’s RC Primary School – Southern Knights
St John’s RC Primary School – Raiwaqa Dragons
St Joseph’s RC Primary Schools – Nausori Bulldogs & Nasikawa Cowboys
The Rochdale Hornets Sporting Foundation is looking forward to continuing our work in the community and engaging with more schools. If you want any information on what the Foundation can provide please email firstname.lastname@example.org.