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Your News North West clubs driving up standards
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Rugby Union clubs across the North West are raising standards in every area of their operations - and they have hard-earned accreditation to prove it.

Twickenham driven initiatives aimed at setting a benchmark for all clubs began in 2002 when the RFU introduced the Seal of Approval programme in association with Sport England and the Clubmark scheme. Then the focus was on the implementation of efficient and safe procedures in the Mini and Youth sections of clubs.

This year that quality standard has been extended to Whole Club Seal of Approval accreditation as a method of ensuring high quality provision across all sections of club administration.

Clubs are assessed by the RFU and must demonstrate evidence of good practice in areas such as club management, player development & recruitment, child protection, sports equity, coaching, refereeing and volunteering.

The RFU's Community Rugby director Andrew Scoular said: "This accreditation will show all those with an interest in rugby and sports development that clubs who attain this award are providing their players and the community with a safe, well-organised and enjoyable environment in which to learn and play rugby."

Top-ranked in the North West league pecking order are Fylde, who have been working closely with Stuart Urquhart, the RFU's Rugby Development Officer for this area of Lancashire, and Community Development Team. The club has developed strong links with the local school and FE/HE establishments which underpin the continued development of the game.

Director of Rugby Mark Nelson said: "This award places the club in the first to have achieved this accreditation. The club strives to deliver quality rugby at all age groups. The accreditation not only recognises what the many Mini-Junior coaches, managers and players have achieved so far, but is also a roadmap to the future."

At the opposite end of the scale, Knutsford RUFC is a club still in its infancy, but it has become the first in Cheshire to achieve WCSoA status, an important milestone that coincides with the club running three senior teams for the first time thanks in part to links with Knutsford Sixth Form College.

In Cumbria, Kirkby Lonsdale and Wigton have also reached the new benchmark, while elsewhere in the North West, Waterloo, Blackburn, Broughton Park, Caldy and Anselmians are among a clutch of clubs who are only weeks away from joining them.

Across the North, club volunteers are working hard to ensure that the high standards that have always been key elements in the widespread success of the game at grass roots level are properly maintained.

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