Chris Harris, Ally Hogg and Michael Young recall grassroots memories to support Aviva Community Fund
Newcastle Falcons stars have been rolling back the years, dusting off their old childhood memorabilia and reminiscing about their first grassroots amateur sports clubs in support of this year’s Aviva Community Fund.
Ally Hogg, Michael Young and Chris Harris have shared memories of their earlier years, dug out old images complete with over-sized kits and dodgy haircuts and explained how grassroots clubs helped them to achieve their dreams of becoming professional rugby players.
The Aviva Community Fund, a nationwide initiative that lends a helping hand to grassroots sports clubs and community causes, has reopened for a second year to offer funding of between £1,000 and £25,000.
This year, Aviva, the proud title sponsor of Aviva Premiership Rugby, has introduced a ‘Sport in the Community’ category, which means the hundreds of thousands of grassroots sports clubs across the UK can apply or reapply for funding in a sport-specific category this time around. The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 11th October.
Hogg, who started playing at Stirling County minis, said: “It’s very important to get that funding into clubs because it’s the sort of thing that can help keep a club afloat. Investment in youth rugby allows more people to get experience of the sport and more people have an opportunity to give it a go and see if it’s something they want to take forward.”
Young, who began his rugby journey at West Hartlepool RFC, said “It’s massively important that clubs up and down the country get this sort of help because ¬a large number of us professional players started off at grassroots. So, in that sense it’s important that it keeps going and gets the funding and backing it needs to allow young kids to enjoy rugby, get out there, make friends and potentially make a career out of rugby.”
Chris Harris, who fondly remembered his first break into rugby, said “My first grassroots club was based in Carlisle. I got my first break at the club when I was 17 playing in the Colts. Richard Metcalfe came to me and said ‘would you mind having a run out with the first team?’ I was playing there for a few seasons and moved onto Tynedale Rugby Club, before I got a trial here at Newcastle Falcons.”
Pete Markey, Brand & Marketing Communications Director at Aviva UK, said: “The Aviva Community Fund is the perfect way for Aviva to help communities come together and support the grassroots sports clubs and local causes that are central to a strong community. Last year, the Aviva Community Fund helped make a difference to hundreds of projects and causes the length and the breadth of the UK and we look forward to helping even more communities this year.”
To enter your club for a chance to secure funding, visit aviva.co.uk/community-fund or search for ‘Aviva Community Fund’.