Ulster Rugby recently hosted its first pre-season Youth Forum as part of the Department for Communities’ ‘Sport, A Home for Lifelong Volunteering’ programme.
The event – which was hosted online due to the current environment – was attended by young volunteers from six different clubs across the province.
Young volunteers got the chance to see a presentation from the IRFU Youth Council, as well as the findings from a project they had been working on for the last 3 years. This project was in relation to youth participation and the issues raised through consultation of young players and coaches across all the provinces.
One of our young members said, “It was good to see how a forum can come together to create a very good project together and its definitely something that we as an Ulster Rugby Youth Forum can strive towards. The information was useful to me and my club, especially the club recommendation section and the women’s rugby section. The rugby women’s section was especially meaningful to me as a coach in terms of retention of players and the promotion of girls rugby and how I can implement some of these recommendations in my own coaching and volunteering.”
The Ulster Rugby Youth Forum members also discussed how they would like to see the Ulster Rugby Youth council develop in the future, and hope to have more representation from other clubs across the province so that the voices of young people, players and volunteers can heard by more clearly by their governing body.
Another member said, “Getting more young people who are more actively involved in playing as well as coaching (ages 17-20 years old) is definitely something I think would be beneficial going forward. Adding a more formal structure to the Youth Forum and being able to feed back to the Rugby Committee is another area I would be interested in pushing forward. Having certain deadlines to work toward would make our own meeting more productive, as well as making us feel that our voices are being heard throughout Ulster Rugby and may have the potential to put some of our ideas in place.”