2017/18 SONI Community Champions Award Launched

07 November 2017

The search is on to find this season’s SONI Community Champions – those volunteers who work tirelessly for their local rugby club, making a vital contribution to the game at a grassroots level.

Now in its third year, the Community Champions Award is spearheaded by SONI (System Operator for Northern Ireland) in partnership with Ulster Rugby. The awards recognise and reward individuals who dedicate a huge amount of energy and time to their local rugby club.

There are two categories to enter:

  • Adult – aimed at volunteers who work in adult rugby including men and women’s rugby and adult disability rugby
  • Youth and mini rugby – aimed at volunteers who work within youth and mini rugby including youth disability teams

Each category winner will receive £1,000 bursary for their local club and two runners up will be awarded £500. 

Lynne Reid, Financial Controller of SONI said: "Over the previous two years we have witnessed first-hand just how vital volunteers are to the game.  In most cases the domestic rugby clubs they are affiliated to would simply not be able to operate without them.  SONI is truly committed to recognising the efforts of those valuable members of the community whose efforts not only allow their local clubs to flourish, but also often establish rugby clubs at the very heart of the community they reside in.”

The Community Champions Awards are open to all types of volunteers including coaches, fundraisers, grounds staff, club committee members - even the mini bus driver.  All volunteers are eligible to enter if they have been involved with their club for at least six months. 

Chris Webster, Domestic Rugby Manager said: "Following the success of the previous two years we’re delighted to see SONI’s ongoing dedication to community rugby continue.

"I’d urge every local club to nominate at least one volunteer to be in with a chance of winning a fantastic £1,000 bursary. It’s hugely important that volunteers are recognised for their amazing and selfless efforts. This year we’d like to remind everyone that previous entrants can be nominated again – there’s every chance they might win.” 

The deadline for entries is Monday 5 February 2018. Anyone can nominate by filling out the online application form at www.ulsterrugby.com/communitychampions.  

For more information on SONI visit www.soni.ltd.uk or follow on twitter @soni_ltd

Media contact Pamela Beatty at Navigator Blue on 02890-246722 or 07867-901646 orp.beatty@navigatorblue.com