RFU to go Beyond Rugby at Twickenham

9th July 2012

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) will lead an exploration of rugby's role as a force for positive change at Beyond Rugby, a groundbreaking event at Twickenham Stadium on 24th July. Beyond Rugby is being staged by Beyond Sport, the preeminent global organisation in the field of sport for social change, and will also be backed by Premiership Rugby and England's official kit supplier Canterbury.

Ian Ritchie, the Chief Executive of the RFU, will be joined by Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty and England's Rugby World Cup Winner Lawrence Dallaglio on a distinguished speaker list at the event. Ritchie and his fellow speakers will join global experts, NGOs and leaders of on-the-ground projects to debate and drive forward the role rugby can play in local communities and in transforming lives.

Ian Ritchie, the Chief Executive of the RFU, commented: "I am proud to be part of a governing body that puts community engagement and social responsibility at the heart of its work. The RFU has a rich history of engagement with our communities and we are members of a sport that has played a key role in transforming so many lives. New RFU developments such as our All Schools Plan, which will engage more secondary schools to play rugby, can have a huge impact. We are looking forward to sharing our experiences and thoughts at Beyond Rugby."

Rugby projects have a rich history of success in the field – from the Project Alcatraz programme which was one of Beyond Sport's earliest Award winners to the HITZ programme backed by both the RFU and Premiership Rugby and named in this year's Beyond Sport Awards Shortlist – and Beyond Rugby aims to encourage a sharing of ideas and best practice with a key focus on producing tangible outcomes.

Rugby World Cup Winner Lawrence Dallaglio cycled from the birthplace of the Olympic Games in Greece to London's Olympic Park to raise funds for his charity, the Dallaglio Foundation, earlier this year, raising a staggering £2.012m. He added: "Sport is incredibly powerful and brings people together in ways nothing else can, which plays a big part in the projects I choose for my foundation. Rugby has given me some of the happiest memories of my life, and initiatives like Beyond Rugby can ensure that that is true for many other young people in this country and across the globe."

Nick Keller, the Founder of Beyond Sport, added: "Some of the most incredible projects we see are driven by rugby, which has a unique role to play in a number of areas, including engagement with disenfranchised youth, disassembling gangs and tackling crime. This cooperation is the start of a journey for rugby that will echo throughout the game’s global community."

Beyond Rugby is being staged as part of the Beyond Sport Summit & Awards, a three-day collision of leading figures from sport, development, business, and politics being staged in London just days ahead of the Olympic Games. Speakers at Beyond Sport will include The Rt Hon Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister and Chairman of the Beyond Sport Ambassadors; Jamie Oliver, the world-renowned chef and campaigner; Olympic gold medallists and Beyond Sport Ambassadors Michael Johnson and Bob Beamon; Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, the most successful Paralympian of all time; and John Amaechi OBE, the NBA legend and political activist.