"A role model is a person whose behaviour, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people."

Here are just a few examples of the many acts of kindness and time given by Bath Rugby staff and players in the past few months since the coronavirus pandemic hit: -

  • Club Captain – Charlie Ewels

When lockdown started, Bath Rugby Club Captain Charlie Ewels got in touch with Bath Rugby Foundation CEO, Lynne Fernquest to find out how he and the playing squad could support Bath Rugby’s charity.

He was the first to step forward and sign up to Bath Rugby Foundation’s 'Sponsor a Student' campaign, which sees individuals and businesses sponsor a participant to help with the extra things they may need to learn of find a job – bus fare, interview clothes and even a daily meal.

In fact, when participants of Bath Rugby Foundation’s Advantage programme needed smart shoes for job interviews, Charlie donated two pairs of his own.

Bath Rugby’s first match following lockdown was Charlie’s 100th for the club. Ahead of the match against London Irish he got in touch and offered his shirt from the match to the Foundation to help raise funds. The shirt raffle, promoted by Charlie and the squad across social media, raised more than £1,200 for the Club’s charity.

Charlie also recently joined the ranks of #BraveTheShave, as some of you may have noticed during the match against Wasps! 

  • Max Clark

During lockdown, the centre reached out to the Bath Rugby Foundation to ask if he could volunteer his time to support the charity.

Max gave up a full day to travel across Bath and North East Somerset to visit members of the Foundation’s Mixed Ability rugby squad. The team, part of Premiership Rugby’s Project Rugby programme, had been due to travel to Spain on their first ever international rugby tour, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit which caused it to be cancelled.

Foundation coach Dan Hine was due to check in with the participants and deliver their tour kit – which had been donated by Bath Rugby, this was set to be a surprise reveal on tour. Max offered his time to accompany Dan on the (socially distanced) visits, spending the day chatting to participants, taking pictures and handing out full playing kits, prompting one participant to share their “the best day ever” experience on social media!

  • Ruaridh MConnochie

 Flying wing Ruaridh McConnochie entrusted the clippers to housemate Max Clark during lockdown to #BravetheShave and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Former 7s teammate AJ Davis, who has done a lot of work with cancer charities, brought the cause to Ruaridh’s attention during lockdown and the crisis faced by the NHS. He raised close to £30,000 for Macmillan, as well as raising awareness about the amazing work undertaken by the cancer charity.

Not only this, but Ruaridh has volunteered for two years with Give Us A Shout, the confidential text service that helps people in crisis. As one of the 2000-strong trained volunteer group, Ruaridh supports Give Us A Shout by responding to messages and helping people in distress.

He says: “We try to be that open, non-judgmental space for people to text in. There was a lot of anxiety during lockdown with people uncertain about their jobs and their futures. It’s good to be there as a sounding board.”

Also a shout out to Ruaridh who was shortlisted as the Community Player of the Year and represented Bath Rugby & Bath Rugby Foundation in the Gallagher Premiership Awards.  Congratulations!!

 Club staff Tarquin McDonald, Alex Cohen, Natalie Nichol, David Ayres, Becky Pocock, Owen Peachey, Craig Lilley, Stuart Hooper, Shula Smith, Neal Hatley, Dan Cooper and Sophie Bennet all gave two days of their time just after lockdown was lifted to host mock interviews and provide advice to a group of 30 students on the Advantage programme.

 The course focused around building confidence, developing social skills and learning new skills to prepare for the workplace and focused on supporting young people from unemployment to securing education placements or employment.  Who wouldn’t feel more confident when Stuart Hooper says ‘ You’re Hired’!

  • Sharing Resources

Summer Break Out is a partnership programme delivered throughout the school holidays with 24 other organisations to support families and young people living on the breadline, surviving month to month on low incomes. The programme supports those children that receive free school meals during the school holidays with meals, sport and play activities, when the 6-weeks of summer holidays could be a difficult and tough financial time for the family. 

Thank you to Bath Rugby who lent BRF their huge van to head to Bristol every Tuesday to FareShare South West’s Warehouse and collect over 7.5 tonnes of food over the 4 weeks of August and distribute in the local hubs in Twerton, Keynsham and Midsomer Norton to provide food parcels to the families. 

As a final note, we would like to send our sincere congratulations to all of the Bath Rugby players that have received England call-ups this week including Bath Rugby Executive Chef, Michael Bache who has been called up as Team Performance Consultant Chef for the upcoming Autumn Internationals. Mike has supported the Foundation in so many ways over the years including supporting our HITZ students with work experience opportunities and judging HITZ cooking competitions.

Well done to all of the lads and good luck from us all at the Bath Rugby Foundation. 

Rest up now and enjoy the break, we look forward to working with you all next season!