Saracens’ Foundation Manager Sam Fulling insists the club’s move to new home Allianz Park has pushed their community involvement to another level after being nominated for a top prize at the All Parliamentary Premiership Rugby Community Awards 2013.
In a year in which the club moved to their new home, they didn’t stop at just excelling on the pitch – developing a range of innovative programmes focused on sports development, inclusion, health and wellbeing, and education and training in order to benefit the surrounding community, earning them a nomination for the Community Impact Award.
Previously all that the Saracens community programme had achieved had been without its own base but the creation of Allianz Park has provided them with a hub from which they have been able to reach a far larger audience.
Fulling believes the top-down community-focused approach displayed by the club, alongside the opening of Allianz Park, has helped them reach more people than ever before.
“From a Sport Foundation point of view it has been a step forward with the amount of programmes we are offering and the range of issues they cover including sport development and inclusion,” said Fulling.
“The introduction of some new areas including a health-based programme in ‘Scrummy’ and a rugby development programme called ‘BLAST’ are both examples of that.
“From a community perspective, Allianz Park stands for what we are all about. It is not only a home for professional rugby and elite athletics but it is a hub for the community. And not just from a sport point of view, also with school activities and educational purposes.
“We want everyone to make use of the facilities. To have this base to bring things back to is pretty inspirational. It is quite amazing to see their reaction to being able to play on the same pitch as our players and it does really open their eyes to what is possible.”
Harlequins, Newcastle Falcons, Saracens and Worcester Warriors have all been shortlisted for the prestigious All Parliamentary Premiership Rugby Community Awards, which will be held on Wednesday at the House of Commons from applications submitted by the shareholder clubs of Premiership Rugby.
The awards, which are in their eighth year, are being run in association with The All Party Parliamentary Rugby Union Group, Premiership Rugby, and media partner SportBusiness Group. Premiership Rugby’s partners Aviva, Land Rover and Perform Group are each sponsoring an award.
Clubs will be competing for three awards; the Community Impact Award supported by Aviva, the Play Award supported by Land Rover, and the BreakThru Award supported by Perform Group.
The winners will be announced at an evening reception in the historic Terrace Room of the House of Commons.
Last year Saracens won the Community Club of the Year Award supported by Aviva and have again impressed the panel of judges in 2013, leading the way with nominations in the shortlist for two of the three categories; the Community Impact Award supported by Aviva and the BreakThru Award supported by Perform Group.
Saracens have it all their own way in the BreakThru Award supported by Perform Group with the shortlist made up of two of the north Londoners’ programmes; the Scrummy! Programme and the Pioneers Programme.
However, Saracens face stiff opposition to make it a double on the night as they are up against Worcester Warriors in the Community Impact Award supported by Aviva.