Rugby Stars Join PCC to Present Club with Cash

Affectionately known as 'Campo', former Australian winger, David Campese, is one of rugby's greatest characters both on and off the pitch and scored 64 tries in 101 tests for the Wallabies between 1982 and 1996. The proud and often outspoken Aussie is in the UK for ten days and is visiting various rugby clubs such as Nelson RFC to talk about the game of rugby in the build-up to the big showdown between Wales and Australia this weekend.

During the evening billed as 'Croeso Campo', all age groups at the club took to the field to take part in Campo's coaching masterclass. This was an opportunity for Nelson RFC to show the former wing wizard their skills and what they have to offer as a rugby club and a community. Prior to being grilled at the clubhouse during his Q&A session, David Campese joined Gwent PCC Ian Johnston and Nelson RFC product and current Wales international and Dragons player, Andrew Coombs, in presenting the club with a cheque of £2,500 from Mr Johnston's Partnership Fund.

Nelson RFC is one of 41 projects in Gwent awarded a share of more than £157,000 from Ian Johnston's Partnership Fund last month. The Partnership Fund grant scheme is funded by the proceeds of crime awarded to the police and from the sale of unclaimed found property. Groups who applied for a share of the funding had to demonstrate the positive impact their project would have on their community whilst contributing to delivering the Commissioner's priorities for Gwent which include reducing and preventing crime; taking more effective action to reduce anti-social behaviour and protecting people from serious harm.

The grant of £2,500 will help Nelson RFC to establish both male and female rugby teams for 16 - 19 year olds at the club and attract up to 70 players from Nelson and the surrounding community to take up rugby.

On awarding the club with the funding, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "By getting young people off the streets this project can help reduce low-level criminality and anti-social behaviour. It will provide young people in the area with an opportunity to have something more constructive to do instead of standing on street corners. It's all about providing something positive for them to expend their energies on. Rugby is a great way of enhancing young people's teamwork skills and for building cohesion in the community. That's why I awarded this funding to the club."

Delighted with the funding, Robert Bryan, the Youth Coach at Nelson RFC, said: "These evenings form part of a range of social activities we regularly organise to promote the club and get the community involved. When you bring in big names like David Campese and Andrew Coombs, they tend to attract people from outside the village and the community.

We're absolutely delighted with this funding from the Commissioner. It will help us to attract even more young people to the club and will lure them away from the temptation of alcohol and drug abuse which is gripping many of our communities these days. We provide a safe and well managed environment for local youngsters here and they can take part in something more positive and build their own self-esteem from that. The club is the biggest outlet for young people in the community and it's really important to Nelson and the wider community that it's here. As coaches, we have a lot of experience in helping young people who have perhaps been led astray and in trying to get them back on the straight and narrow."

Nelson RFC also used the evening as an opportunity to raise money for the Noah's Ark Appeal, the Children's Hospital for Wales Charity.