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Kevin Yates "What drove us to sponsor grass roots university rugby team?"

Posted by Ross Noonan|11 Mar 2024

Following the announcement of our sponsorship with Newcastle University's Women's Rugby Team, we wanted to highlight the reasons behind why we decided to sponsor a university rugby team. 

In order to dig a bit deeper, we turned to the one person who knows best, namely our business development manager Kevin Yates.

Kevin’s rich history in sports has seen him play rugby all over the world, including playing for England, Bath, Hurricanes, Nice, Saracens and Sale. That being said, Kevin hasn’t forgotten about his early years and strongly believes grassroot sports plays a massive part in shaping people's lives for the better. 

Grassroot sports is where it all begins

"Regardless of the sport, grass roots sports clubs provide a nurturing environment where youngsters get a chance to play, learn and enjoy themselves. It’s not just about finding the ‘future stars’, grassroot sports also play a massive part in keeping the love for the game alive. Even if players don’t end up going pro, being part of a tight-knit community ensures the support for the professional game grows stronger" Kevin says.

"Seeing young people running around and getting involved in sports, whether it be rugby, netball or tennis… it's huge! And we want to be enablers of this important sports cycle" he added.

"Grass roots rugby wasn't a thing when I was younger. I believe If I had grown up having access to what is available now, I would have been an even more accomplished player. That is why it is so important that wherever possible we support the men and women's games, and that starts with Grass Roots" Kevin concludes.

Fostering essential life skills

Beyond the recreation and entertainment of sports, it’s clear as day that being involved in a team's sport from a young age also helps develop vital skills beyond the pitch. 

Team sports hugely help players prepare for the walk of life and career, equipping them with crucial skills, such as effective communication, resilience, giving and receiving constructive criticism and self belief. These are all life skills that transcend sports and help ‘guide’ kids throughout their adult life. 

"One of the main skills I took away from my time playing sport was self motivation and self-discipline. I was the only one holding me back, as soon as I learnt that being the hardest worker in the room was an essential skill, life became a lot easier. I learnt this by looking up to the players I saw as idols and the dedicated coaching teams" Kevin says.

Levelling the playing field

"Sponsoring a women’s team is especially important to us. Women’s team sports have had a fantastic couple of years, especially underscored by the success of late in the women's rugby and football!".

"By sponsoring Newcastle University's Women's Rugby Team, the girls are given an opportunity to play, wear the kit and best of all - enjoy the sport with the same coaching support the men's game has seen. If we can help support the issue of girls not playing sports after finishing school, we’d have a lot more role models for other young women across the globe to follow".

"Whether they end up being the next England player or the next supporter, both are happy outcomes. It’s an incredibly promising time for women’s sports and incredibly exciting for us to help nurture this momentum" Kevin adds.

What’s yet to come…

"Looking ahead, the commitment to supporting grassroot sports remains critical for us. It aligns with the culture of our business, and has only had a positive impact for our business both internally and externally".

"We are very proud to sponsor the Newcastle University's Women's Rugby Team, and it is amazing to see what can be achieved through supporting grassroot sports. This represents only a fragment of our broader vision as we aim to continue investing in the development and growth of local sports communities, and we hope it might inspire others in the industry to do the same" Kevin Concludes.

Follow Newcastle University Women's Rugby Here