Over the course of the next few months as we continue our #ReturnToPlay across England and Wales, we wanted to give you a flavour of what it is like being a member of the Dallaglio RugbyWorks squad.
All of our squad are fiercely committed to supporting the young people we work with and guiding them on the right path to success – whether that be in further education, employment or training opportunities.
For our latest TeamTalk, we handed over duties to Matthew Key, our Chair of the Board of Trustees, to explain the role of our trustees, the impact the pandemic has had on Dallaglio RugbyWorks, and what is to come in 2021!
I became a trustee at RugbyWorks, as I feel extremely privileged and lucky to have lived the life that I have. I recognise that many young people are not as lucky as I am and have not necessarily been given the same chances in life that I had, so I wanted to give back.
In our role as trustees, the board and I set the strategic direction of the charity and make sure that we are using the money we have been granted by our donors in the most effective way to have the maximum impact in line with our objectives. In a charity that operates in an environment that is very difficult to monitor, manage, and measure, this can unavoidably involve a degree of judgement. The most important thing is that we work closely with the management and have different inputs from around the trustee table. As Chairman, I am extremely happy with the different experiences each board member can bring to the table, from individuals with deep educational backgrounds, to individuals with commercial and marketing backgrounds. This makes for an extremely effective board.
From a personal perspective, the biggest challenge I have faced this year is trying to create and maintain relationships with people that I work with. This is unavoidably harder across a video link versus meeting people in person. The biggest professional challenge was restructuring RugbyWorks in the period where we effectively lost access to two thirds of our revenue overnight. This had to be done for the survival of the organisation, but was nevertheless very difficult as we had to part company with some people who have been with the organisation from the start and were fantastic at their jobs, but unfortunately were just victims of the circumstances.
It has always been important to support disadvantaged young people and those who, without an intervention, will end up being “lost to society “. This has never been more true than during the recent pandemic, as the social divide has only got bigger. The young people we look after need our help now, even more than they did before the pandemic.
I would love the young people we work with to have more access to our Mentors, and the young people we unfortunately cannot reach due to financial constraints to have access to our products. We really do make positive interventions and improve individuals' lives and therefore, improve the society that we live in.
The biggest challenge for RugbyWorks over the coming weeks and months is to reconnect with all the schools and the young people that so desperately need our help. This is easier said than done at the moment, as going back into a period of lockdown challenges our coaches to connect with young people as effectively as they previously had, but with the added non-travel and sporadic delivery restraints.
I would just like to thank everybody involved in RugbyWorks; from our extremely generous donors, to the Mentors, to the young people, and the schools that we go into. We are improving the society that we live in and it is needed more now than ever.