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NI rugby clubs urged to apply for SONI back to action funds


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The bursary is an extension of the Real Rugby Heroes initiative which has been running for five years and seeks to reward volunteers who make an invaluable contribution to the domestic game in Ulster

The bursary is an extension of the Real Rugby Heroes initiative which has been running for five years and seeks to reward volunteers who make an invaluable contribution to the domestic game in Ulster

The bursary is an extension of the Real Rugby Heroes initiative which has been running for five years and seeks to reward volunteers who make an invaluable contribution to the domestic game in Ulster

Rugby clubs have only two days left to apply to a bursary fund set up to support their return to activity post-Covid-19.

Backed by club rugby sponsor SONI, the electricity system operator for Northern Ireland, the fund recognises the efforts of clubs throughout Ulster who have supported their community during the ongoing pandemic.

The bursary is an extension of the Real Rugby Heroes initiative which has been running for five years and seeks to reward volunteers who make an invaluable contribution to the domestic game in Ulster.

Clubs can apply for the bursary at www.ulsterrugby.com/realrugbyheroes before the deadline at 5pm on Thursday.

A total fund of £8,000 is available, tiered in three bursary levels of £1,000, £500 and £250. The funds are intended to support clubs with the anticipated expenses of putting in place protocols for a post-Covid-19 return to activity.

Jo Aston, managing director of SONI, said: "We have been proud to support Ulster Rugby for five years, and have remained close to them as they, like all organisations, navigate these extraordinary times.

"Rugby clubs across Ulster are a vital asset to the communities they operate in, and we have been overwhelmed by the individual efforts clubs have made to support vulnerable people during Covid-19.

"We encourage all clubs who have supported their community to submit an application."

Examples of how rugby clubs and their members have helped those in need in their community in recent times range from delivering grocery boxes in their area to donating facilities and fundraising for NHS charities.

Some club grounds have also been used as testing centres for key workers.

Barry Willis, Rugby Operations Manager at Ulster Rugby, said: "We are incredibly proud of how the clubs have reacted, given the pressure they too are under.

"We would therefore encourage all clubs to apply for the Real Rugby Heroes of Covid-19 bursary programme to help them prepare for a return to activity."

Belfast Telegraph