The first week of December saw the launch of a new partnership and programmewith local Ceredigion schools as part of the Scarlets’ Three Counties, Three Years strategy. The Scarlets, hosted the first Ceredigion Schools Festival and also launched a training programme alongside learning technology specialists Aspire2Be providing free analysis equipment, software and training worth over £20k.
The Ceredigion Schools Festival on 7th December consisted of six Ceredigion secondary schools, year seven pupils, from Penweddig, Aberaeron, Ysgol Bro Pedr, Ysgol Henry Richard, Ysgol Bro Teifi and Newcastle Emlyn School played round robin touch rugby matches held at Parc Y Scarlets.
Following the festival, free game tickets were given to 20 pupils from each squad and teacher representatives from the six schools to watch the European Champions Cup match against Ulster. Reduced price tickets were also offered to family members. In addition to watching the game, school squads also participated in a pre-match parade around the pitch and met Scarlets players.
Head of the PE Department from Ysgol Penweddig, Ifan Thomas said of the Festival: “The festival is a great way to bring the community together, building camaraderie between our young players. And affording them the opportunity to play in the famous Parc y Scarlets and meeting some of Wales’ most talented professional rugby players is a lifelong dream for many of our young players, it’s a great thing for Penweddig and Ceredigion to be a part of.”
Speaking of the opportunities that the Scarlets are bringing to the local schools through the recognition of young rugby talent,Ceredigion County Council, Chief Executive Eifion Evans said: “The Ceredigion Schools Festival is a unique experience for our year seven players and we’re very thankful for the commitment that the Scarlets have made to the county. They are also supporting many local charities and events in the region, and seeing our Ceredigion coat of arms colours represented on the Scarlets away shirt is a great honour.”
In a further bid to strengthen links and support Ceredigion and it’s young players Tuesday the 11th of December saw the launch of a new Scarlets partnership with WRW Construction and Aspire2Be and six Ceredigion rugby clubs and schools participating in a pilot project providing free analysis equipment, software and training.The ‘Analyse That’ project worked with Aberystwyth Rugby Football Club and Ysgol Penweddig, with a funding application written for remaining schools andclubs once the pilot is completed. Those clubs who did not win the £20K prize were offered the opportunity to send selected members on an exclusive training course free of charge in the future.
Part of the Aspire2Be team is former Scarlets coach and now media pundit, Sean Holley. Sean said on the overall training programme experience: “The modern rugby person now has an increasing awareness of analysis and is more digitally aware.
“The innovative ‘Analyse That’ initiative in collaboration with Aspire2Be now makes it easier and more affordable for community clubs to access what can be an expensive aspect of the game. The Scarlets should be applauded for entering into this partnership and I can’t wait to work with the Ceredigion clubs and schools to help upskill and improve their rugby experience in this initial pilot.”
Digital skill development and camaraderie amongst young rugby players are very much at the forefront of Scarlet’s Three Counties, Three Years campaign. Rural counties like Ceredigion often suffer from digital exclusion and larger rugby festivals. The Scarlets hope that their local support through the ‘Analyse That’ training programme and the Ceredigion Schools Festival unifies the county through in recognising young local talent.
Scarlets Head of Commercial, Nathan Brew on working in partnership with local Ceredigion schools said; “A critical part of our work with the region is to not deviate away from age old values and its culture. Those that know and follow the Scarlets trust us and are loyal to us, our campaign is to reaffirm this confidence and to further develop that brand loyalty by proving our commitment to them.”
The Three Counties campaign will be making its way to Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, county by county, over the next three years where the Scarlets will continue to provide support for local clubs, schools and young rugby talent.