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Cambridge Rugby Club launch two schemes to help the community

Cambridge Rugby Club have launched two schemes to help the community. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Rugby Club have launched two schemes to help the community. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge Rugby Club has launched two initiatives to fulfil a sense of duty to the community to which it serves.

They have not played a match since last March and the first lockdown, with the National Leagues on hold from that point.

There was a glimmer of light that they may get back in action after the November lockdown, however, those plans were shelved once the current restrictions were brought into place.

But rather than twiddle their thumbs on the sidelines, Cambridge have been eager to make a difference.

They have created a scheme to help provide healthy home-cooked meals for vulnerable children, and collecting laptops and tablets for children and care homes.

Cambridge will be working with Cantab Catering and Viva Kitchen to support vulnerable children with healthy meals.

“The concept for the food service that we are going to provide probably came as a result of some of the social media posts a few weeks ago around the insufficient meals that were being provided to some children,” said Cambridge director of rugby Richie Williams.

“It struck a chord with a lot of people in this country, and I thought how we could help as a club over the weekend and fortunately we’ve got people like Seb Barker (Cantab Catering) and Jo Hopkins (Viva Kitchen) who are both in the catering industry.

“They obviously saw the same sort of thing and between the three of us we thought we were in a good position as a club, with the expertise we’ve got, to make things a little bit better and support some of the vulnerable students in Cambridge that weren’t receiving adequate meals during the week.

“Since then we have set up a GoFundMe page which is up to £2,500 in four days which is unbelievable.

“We have Addenbrooke’s, the Royal Papworth Hospital, Scotsdales get on board to provide packaging and bags to help us deliver these food parcels.

“I’ve just been blown away by the level of support from everybody at the rugby club but also the wider community as well.

“We will prepare the meals in the two kitchens we’ve got at the club.

“Jo and Seb will be providing the meals, and then we will be delivering those directly to the schools through a number of the players and club members that will help that process.”

Cambridge are looking for donations of cereals, tinned soups, pasta, rice, tinned meat and fish, beans, spices, oils and fruit to assist in creating healthy meals.

A food drop will be available at their ground from 11am to 1pm on Saturdays, starting on January 23.

The club are also working with Enlightened IT to provide laptops or tablets to help vulnerable children, and also elderly people in care homes stay connected with families.

A drive-through drop-off point will be at the entrance of their Grantchester Road-based ground on Saturday, January 23 and 30 from 10am to 1pm.

The laptops and tablets will be wiped clean by Enlightened IT and reloaded with updated software before being donated to schools and care homes.

Cambridge are working with the LEA and are in the process of liaising with some care homes in the county regarding the two schemes.

“We’re not playing any sport at the moment, and we’re fortunate that we’ve got a number of volunteers at the club both from the playing side of things and the wider club that want to help and support,” said Williams.

“We thought we would be pro-active. We are in regular contact with the members about initiatives we can support and run, and want to do as a club.

“We wanted to support a pretty challenging situation at the moment.

“It’s something that we pride ourselves on; one of the values of Cambridge Rugby Club is we want to support each other and I just think this is a really tangible example of us doing that.

“It’s not just supporting our club members, but the wider community as well. It’s a sense of duty to the community, and I just think a lot of sports clubs are in a good position to provide an extra service for the wider community.”

To make a donation, visit gofundme.com/f/crufc-meals-for-children or to drop off food donations or laptop/tablets go to Cambridge Rugby Club on a Saturday morning.

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