To Hampshire Clubs, Members, Volunteers, Players and Coaches


I trust that you are well and enjoying the summer weather and taking a well-earned break from Rugby, if that’s possible.     If not, thank you for your continued support to our game throughout the year as we prepare for a new season.  


Today marks the day that I take over from Neil Hagerty as the Hampshire Clubs representative on the RFU Council, following my election in April.   Firstly I want to thank Neil for his excellent support to Rugby in Hampshire over the past 13 years that he has been our representative.   During that time, he has steadfastly ensured that the interests and concerns of our Clubs has been high on the RFU Agenda and he has had some notable success with offshore funding, competitions and club development support.   His dedication over the past 13 years has meant that our clubs have had a first class advocate and strong voice on many issues that impact on our ability to deliver our sport to so many participants.   We owe him a debt of gratitude and a promise that he will always be welcome in our Clubs, Schools and Colleges.  Thank you Neil.


The close season, as many of you will appreciate, is no longer a quiet time for our Clubs and volunteers and this year has been no exception.  Following on from the Clubs meeting at the end of last season, a working group was established by HRFU to consult on the critical issue of recruitment and retention in our game and how we can ensure that more players ‘transition’ through the age-grades to Adult rugby participation.  I was pleased to facilitate 5 cluster meetings that were well attended by a cross section of club officers and members and we in the process of finalising a report on how we, in Hampshire, can address this at Club level and what HRFU and RFU can do to actively support your programmes.


Clubs throughout the County mobilised an army of volunteers to deliver Nat West Rugby Force, with funding support from the RFU, Nat West and HRFU.  I was able to attend 13 of the Clubs and was very impressed by the quality of work being undertaken and the teamwork and club togetherness that was such a feature of the events.  I congratulate you on some fantastic ideas but more importantly the delivery of the projects undertaken.


At the beginning of July we were informed by the RFU that they were undertaking a consultation process that would result in a number of RFU employees being made redundant.  The consultation process with the employees, in our case RDOs and CRCs, resulted in some recommendations that would reduce the Community Rugby workforce nationally and impact on our local delivery team.  The initial recommendation would have seen our workforce reduce from 2 RDO and 5 CRC professional staff to 1 RDO and 4 CRC, to which after discussion with the HRFU President and Chairman we presented an alternative option.  We were very keen to retain both our RDOs, who have done an excellent job in the County and are well respected by all our Clubs, Schools and Colleges and looked at ways that this could be achieved, given the criteria the RFU had utilised in their decisions.  In the event 3 of our CRCs have opted to take voluntary redundancy and new employments, so our proposal was for the retention of both RDOs and a reduction to 2 CRCs, which whilst not ideal is at best manageable.  This has now been accepted by the RFU and the threat of redundancy to one of our RDOs removed.  It does mean that we have reduced resource and we will be working hard to mitigate the impact on our programmes and maintain our support to all sectors of the game in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Channel Islands.  The critical issue will be to focus on supporting programmes that will make a key difference to participation in Rugby in Hampshire as we work to ensure more players play more rugby more often supported by more volunteers in our Clubs, Schools and Colleges.  This has been a difficult period for our professional staff and HRFU Executive but we are now all looking forward to next season and the opportunities and challenges it will bring.


Finally, may I take this opportunity to ask you to contact me direct with any issues that you feel I can support you with and make representation to the RFU through our constituent body, Hampshire RFU.    I hope over the course of the season to visit all of our Clubs both in my role as HRFU Clubs representative but also as Chairman of Hampshire Rugby Referees, either when invited or in my role as referee or referee match developer.  I hope you all have a very successful season, with lots of Rugby at all levels played and lots of fun and enjoyment along the way.


Best wishes for Season 2018/19


Terry Burwell

HRFU Clubs Representative on RFU Council

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