Northampton Saints are delighted to announce that Ipswich RFC have become the first side in the Eastern Counties to be awarded Affiliated Club status.
The Club Affiliation Scheme launched in 2020 to build stronger links within grassroots rugby clubs across the East Midlands and Eastern Counties.
Through the initiative, Saints’ Community department aim to build even closer links with local RFU-accredited rugby clubs who host mini/junior sections, and ultimately to establish a network of grassroots clubs which will be supported in their development to make rugby more accessible for all.
“Ipswich are a fantastic rugby club with a thriving membership, boasting teams at all age groups for both boys and girls, and with an ambitious and forward-thinking team of volunteers,” said Connor Fleming, Northampton Saints’ Head of Community.
“So we’re thrilled to link-up with them as an Affiliated Club, and we’ll be focusing on areas such as coach development, growing and retaining the current player base, establishing and strengthening links with local schools or partners, and sharing best practice to develop marketing, sponsorship and facility functions.
“It’s really important for Northampton Saints to have a close involvement in supporting grassroots clubs, so we look forward to using our experience, resources, initiatives and partnerships to help Ipswich flourish.”Connor Fleming, Head of Community
Ipswich join Brackley RUFC, Long Buckby RFC, Northampton Casuals RFC, Old Northamptonians RFC and Stewart & Lloyds RFC on the list of Affiliated Clubs to date.
Three recent Ipswich graduates – Lewis Ludlam, Alex Moon and Tui Uru – have all featured in Northampton’s first team this season, while several other past and present players are currently within Saints’ Academy structure.
All affiliated clubs also receive two Northampton Saints season tickets so that they can reward their own volunteers, coaches, players or other staff for their hard work throughout the season with a day out to watch the men in Black, Green and Gold at Franklin’s Gardens.
Ipswich’s Vice Chairman (Playing), Henry Gaskin, will be the club’s Affiliation Ambassador, working with Saints Community on various development opportunities moving forwards.
“We welcome this official tie up between our forward-thinking community club and Northampton Saints,” said Mike Hancock, Ipswich RFC Chairman.
“Ipswich RFC has an enviable record of nurturing and developing local youth talent, and Saints have an admirable programme of supporting grassroots rugby.
“Ipswich are proud to be chosen to be a Saints Affiliated Club, with the benefits that this will be bring to our young rugby players, coaches, members, sponsors and supporters.”
The Club Affiliation Scheme began with a handful of sides, but will expand during the coming seasons and welcome more and more clubs to join. To learn more, please contact [email protected].