Report on Watkins sponsorship of Thanet Wanderers Rugby Union Football Club

Written by Peter Ruranski – Head of Sponsorship

Since the start of the 2021-22 rugby season in September 2021 for the past three years Watkins has been the Lead Sponsor of Thanet Wanderers Rugby Union Football Club’s Junior Section and the Patron of the club’s Schools and Community Programme. Watkins has had their logo on all junior sides playing shirts for the three years of their sponsorship.

With the support of Watkins the club has been able to expand its School & Community Programme introducing in curriculum time rugby coaching between September 2021 and April 2024 to a total of 26 local schools including 7 senior schools and 19 junior and infants schools (see attached list for school names). Because of the support of Watkins the club is able to offer this service free of charge to all participating schools meeting the cost of equipment, kit and coaching costs out of the sponsorship funds that have been provided. The vast majority of schools in our area, particularly the junior schools, do not have physical education (PE) as part of their curriculum so the in school time rugby coaching allows the young people to benefit from increased exercise and helps them to learn to work together for team benefit while learning to respect authority, to acquire the disciplines that rugby demands as they attain an increased self esteem, learn the importance of controlling their emotions and imbibe the reasons for perseverance and dedication and learn how to win and lose with dignity.

The numbers of children that have received in curriculum time rugby coaching are as follows:

2021-22 rugby season 2064 children
2022-23 rugby season 3866 children
2023-24 rugby season 2589 children
Total 8519 children

With the help of Watkins sponsorship Thanet Wanderers were also able to continue their out of school time Rugby Hubs for 13 to 15 year girls and boys during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons.

The number of children attending these sessions were as follows:

2021-22 season 26 sessions 458 boy attendees
155 girl attendees
Total 613 (An average of 23 young people per session)
2022-23 season 22 sessions 388 boy attendees
118 girl attendees
Total 506 (An average of 23 young people per session)

As part of the Schools & Community Programme 3 inter-school festivals have been held at Thanet Wanderers ground attracting not only teams from the Thanet area, but also teams from Canterbury, Deal, Dover, Herne Bay and Sandwich.

The Club’s SEND Initiative for children with special educational needs and development, was introduced in June 2022 as an add-on to the Schools & Community Programme and the initial 7 sessions resulted in 156 youngsters attending. In total there have been 31 SEND sessions with 682 children attending. These sessions have culminated in two teams of SEND children from Thanet attending a Wooden Spoon national competition in Coventry over the weekend of 21st-23rd June 2024 with all expenses for the players and their carers met by donations to the club.

The latest edition to the Schools and Community Programme is the introduction of Walking Rugby that is being held weekly for the over 50 year olds both men and women. Although only recently introduced this is already averaging 20 attendees per session.