28 August 2014
Dear Club Secretary
You will be aware of the successful negotiation of a new Rugby Services Agreement between the WRU and the four Region which represents a landmark for all of us involved in Welsh rugby.
The RSA determines the operational relationship between the WRU and the professional level of the game in Wales for the next six years and impacts on every level of our structure.
There is no doubt that for all our elite systems and strategies to succeed we need to maintain and nurture a strong community game and focus on increasing participation on and off the field at the grassroots level.
It is important to inform you that while the WRU has always sought to deliver the best agreement possible for the professional rugby we maintained a determination to ensure that our contributions to the community game remained ringfenced and secure.
In recent years the financial contributions to the community game have been at record levels in Wales and the establishment of a club operation team some two years ago has provided a filip to our input into the success of grassroots rugby.
In Year End 12 and Year End 13 £500,000 and £800,000 respectively were allocated to Welsh rugby clubs by way of facilities grants to improve our standards and secure the Welsh rugby grassroots environment for players, coaches, backroom staff, volunteers and supporters.
Most recently, in June 2014, a further £500,000 was committed to continuing the facilities grant scheme.
You will be aware that a further £750,000 one-off sum was committed to a new Participation Points Scheme which will deliver much needed equipment and resource to hundreds of clubs.
The financial stability and success of the WRU has continued despite the turbulence in the wider economy so we have also been able to improve the grant funding for the amateur and semi-professional levels of Welsh rugby.
From this season, 2014/15, there is a 13% increase in funding for our community clubs to a total of £2.6m a year.
For the Principality Premiership Division that core funding has gone up by 19% to £1.5m a year.
As recorded in our recent Annual Reports in addition to the above funding we incur around £3m meeting the operational costs of grassroots rugby in Wales.
With the development staff and club operations team along with the new Schools Rugby Officers being engaged there are more than fifty staff focused directly on the grassroots game.
In the last year some 3,000 volunteers have received WRU training and the NatWest Rugby Force team have delivered financial training at a number of seminars through the year. The WRU has also produced a Club Operations
Manual to help all community clubs enhance your off-the-field activities.
There is also a new initiative this year in partnership with Sport Wales and other sports governing bodies to deliver more 3G training and playing pitches around Wales.
All this is evidence of a clear strategy to improve club rugby in Wales and recognises the importance of the community game to the cohesive strategy we are creating.
It is also important to remember that the improved success of our Regions and subsequently our international teams will help drive forward the popularity of Welsh rugby in the long term.
A welcome outcome of this will be more youngsters walking through the doors of our clubhouses and stepping out onto our training and playing pitches.
Thank you for your commitment to Welsh rugby and can we wish you all the very best for the seasons ahead.
David Pickering Roger Lewis