Ex-Kelso ace confirms welcome for rugby support package

Former Kelso great John Jeffrey has approved an unprecedented funding package of £6.5 million by Scottish Rugby to support community clubs in Scotland as the sport emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 11:27 am
Updated Thursday, 29th April 2021, 1:05 pm
John Jeffrey in action for Scotland against France at Murrayfield in the Grand Slam-winning year of 1990. (Photo: STF/AFP via Getty Images)

The ‘Great White Shark’, a Grand Slam winner with Scotland in 1990 and now chairman of Scottish Rugby, has endorsed the plan, for which around £1.5 million is being earmarked for immediate club recovery needs and a safe, sustainable Return to Rugby programme.

A further £5 million will go towards stimulating growth and participation over the coming five years.The existing club support payments allocated by Scottish Rugby, which amounted to £2.9 million in financial year 2019-20, will rise to £3 million per annum and will be index linked for the next five years.

Essentially, the three ‘extra’ funding streams include a £500,000 club recovery fund, which is immediately available to grassroots clubs to help avoid immediate hardship and prepare their premises and facilities for the coming season.A £1 million Return to Rugby fund will support club and referee society plans to recruit and retain players, coaches, volunteers, match officials and support staff. Clubs will be invited to apply for ‘kick start’ grants of up to £7500.A five-year fund, worth £1 million a year, is intended to support a comprehensive growth and participation strategy among the Union and clubs, individually and collectively, to create sustainable improvements in player numbers.

It will focus on schools and youth rugby with an emphasis on state schools, and girls’ and women’s rugby from primary schools to the international team.Jeffrey said: “This is a massive boost to clubs across the country and we are delighted to be in a position to fund programmes and activities designed to stimulate the game in Scotland, following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on club activity and finances.

"We welcome the generous support of the Scottish Government and are committed to distribute any funding in accordance with their guidelines.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Scottish Rugby president, Ian Barr, said the package should have a lasting impact on growth and participation in the community game.