RUGBY: Final call for SONI Community Champions Award entries

Pictured at the launch was (front) Ulster prop Jonny Simpson with Lynne Reid, SONI (Back from left) Last year's winner of the adult category John Curry, Ulster Rugby's Peter Browne, Chris Webster, Domestic Rugby Manager at Ulster Rugby and Gary McFarlane last year's winner of the youth/mini category.
Pictured at the launch was (front) Ulster prop Jonny Simpson with Lynne Reid, SONI (Back from left) Last year's winner of the adult category John Curry, Ulster Rugby's Peter Browne, Chris Webster, Domestic Rugby Manager at Ulster Rugby and Gary McFarlane last year's winner of the youth/mini category.

Entries for this season’s SONI Community Champions Award will close at noon on Monday 5th February and organisers are calling for last minute nominations from the North region, which includes rugby clubs in Coleraine and Ballymoney.

Now in its third year, the Community Champions Award is spearheaded by SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) in partnership with Ulster Rugby. The awards recognise and reward individuals who dedicate a huge amount of energy and time to their local rugby club.

There are two categories to enter:

· Adult – aimed at volunteers who work in adult rugby including men and women’s rugby and adult disability rugby

· Youth and mini rugby – aimed at volunteers who work within youth and mini rugby including youth disability teams

Each category winner will receive £1,000 bursary for their local club and two runners up will be awarded £500.

Lynne Reid, Financial Controller of SONI said: “Over the previous two years we have witnessed first-hand just how vital volunteers are to the game. In most cases the domestic rugby clubs they are affiliated to would simply not be able to operate without them. SONI is truly committed to recognising the efforts of those valuable members of the community whose efforts not only allow their local clubs to flourish, but also often establish rugby clubs at the very heart of the community they reside in.”

The Community Champions Awards are open to all types of volunteers including coaches, fundraisers, grounds staff, club committee members - even the mini bus driver. All volunteers are eligible to enter if they have been involved with their club for at least six months.

Chris Webster, Domestic Rugby Manager said: “Following the success of the previous two years we’re delighted to see SONI’s ongoing dedication to community rugby continue.

“I’d urge every local club to nominate at least one volunteer to be in with a chance of winning a fantastic £1,000 bursary. It’s hugely important that volunteers are recognised for their amazing and selfless efforts. This year we’d like to remind everyone that previous entrants can be nominated again – there’s every chance they might win.”

The deadline for entries is Monday 5th February 2018, anyone can nominate by filling out the online application form, at www.ulsterrugby.com/communitychampions

For more information on SONI visit www.soni.ltd.uk or follow on twitter @soni_ltd