Veseyans scooped the Mini and Junior Section of the Year Award at the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards held at Twickenham.
The prestigious prize recognises the remarkable progress Veseyans have made since they decided to set up the section from scratch just four years ago. Now they have almost 400 youngsters registered across all age groups.
“We took a decision as a club that’s nudging 100 years old now, we recognised that like many, many clubs we were disappearing, and we needed to do something to buck the trend,” said Veseyans chairman Marc Hemingway.
“We got together and we decided we were going to push on and get the mini and youth section going because that’s the foundation of the club.
“We went out to the community, to local schools, we attended school fetes, we leaflet-dropped, we really went to town in the summer of 2014.
“That first morning we were there early and we waited, the kids started coming and they just kept coming.
“We’ve got three car-park attendants now on a Sunday morning, we’ve built the club over the four years to up to 395 kids.”
The Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards celebrate the best of English rugby from grassroots to the very pinnacle of the game – and were created in 2015 with former England captain Chris Robshaw playing a major part.
Committed to growing grassroots rugby in the north Birmingham area, Veseyans have hosted local school tournaments for year 7-9 students and have attended six primary school summer fetes to encourage youngsters to take up the sport.
Awarded Greater Birmingham Club of the Year 2017/18 for their excellence in achieving progress, the club plan to raise the bar even further over the next twelve months.
Director of rugby Stuart Ward said: “There’s lots of competition locally where we are, Sutton Coldfield, lots of clubs have had mini and junior sections a lot longer than us.y
“But here we are three seasons later and we’re bigger than they are.
“Each year we sit down and we set targets with the RFU, we have regular meetings with them so they know exactly what we’re doing.
“What I like about Veseyans is that we actually go and do it.
“We’ve set targets not for this season coming, but for the next season after that, it’s a fabulous, fabulous club and this award is well-deserved.”
Old Halesonians and Ledbury were also shortlisted for the Mini and Junior Section Award and had representatives among the 500 who attended the Twickenham event.
Woodrush were shortlisted for the Facilities Development of the Year with Haydn Price of Redditched-based PR Facilities Management on the shortlist for the Club Sponsor of the Year for his involvement with Woodrush.
Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer passionately supports rugby at all levels. The brand returns as the Headline Sponsor for the 2018 National Rugby Awards after partnering with the event for the first time in 2016.