Key Later Life Finance Rugby Reading Champions Festival

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With the support of Key Later Life Finance, the Fylde Rugby Community Foundation delivered a high energy Rugby Reading Champions festival for Blackpool primary schools who took part in the Foundation’s Rugby Reading Champions programme delivered in schools over the last academic year.

Over the past year, with the support of The Vera Wolstencroft Children and Animal Trust and working alongside the National Literacy Trust the Fylde Rugby Community Foundation have provided primary schools with the opportunity to participate in the Rugby Reading Champions programme, working with 15 targeted children per school who are not engaging with reading and literacy.

The programme is designed to associate reading with sport and in particular rugby union through 60-minute reading sessions and 60-minute coaching and fun games. With the provision of books and reading literature, the children can continue to use the resources after the programme – which is extremely important in sustaining their long-term development and interest. The Foundation delivered the Rugby Reading Champions programme in 15 primary schools across Blackpool, delivering a one-hour literacy session and one-hour tag rugby session over the course of 10 weeks to 225 boys and girls from years 5 and 6.

On Thursday 16th June 2022, 8 primary schools from across Blackpool attended the Key Later Life Finance Rugby Reading Champions Festival at Fylde Rugby Club to celebrate the completion of the programme. 107 children and supporting school staff enjoyed a fun jam-packed day incorporating a mixture of tag rugby, mental wellbeing and reading workshops. Guest speakers and Foundation Community Rugby Coaches delivered these specific workshops throughout the day.

With thanks to the National Literacy Trust, Tom Palmer who is the author of 55 children’s books and who was shortlisted for the 2009 Blue Peter Book Award delivered a literacy workshop which included a quiz, kicking rugby balls over a small set of posts and trophies. The children also had the chance to meet the author who had written books they have been reading as part of the programme, ask questions and take part in fun reading activities.

Calvin Eden, Brand Director and founder of Loud Speaker delivered a Mini-Speaker workshop as part of the event. Calvin has made a life out of using his voice from starting his own business to now appearing regularly on Channel 4, and his energy and enthusiasm never fails to captivate an audience. The Mini-Speaker workshops mission is to give young people the tools to speak out and speak well. They achieved this by delivering a high-energy impactful workshop focusing on delivering crucial communication skills and promoting a positive mentality to the children that attended, whilst also preparing them for the transition to secondary school.

The Foundation’s Community Rugby Coaches Alex Carson and Ben Turner also delivered tag rugby activities which included fun tag and evasion games, in which the children got the chance to show off their rugby skills that they had been developing over the 10-week programme.

Phill Mills, Head of Community Coaching for the Foundation said: “The Rugby Reading Champions programme’s main aim is to combine literacy and education with sports to try to engage children who wouldn’t usually read to see that reading can be enjoyable if it is something they are interested in. The festival the Foundation delivered included all aspects of the programme from tag rugby delivery, literacy and mental wellbeing. It was great to see so many children engage with the activities on the day and have lots of fun!”

Photo of Sir Bill Beaumont, Honorary President of The Fylde Rugby Community Foundation and Sophie Shuttleworth HR Business Partner representing Key Later Life Finance.

For more details about the Foundation or to learn more about the Rugby Reading Champions Programme please contact Phill Mills, Head of Community Coaching at

Fylde Community Foundation rugby festival