A special reception was held for West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris as the Bath Rugby Foundation kicked off its 20th birthday celebrations.
Mr Norris visited the Recreation Ground in Bath for a cake-cutting ceremony with staff and volunteers as well as some of the 26 young Bathonians benefitting from an award-winning ‘alternative provision’ schools project led by Bath Rugby Club’s community arm.
Bath Rugby Foundation Chief Executive Lynne Fernquest shared some of the charity’s history with the Mayor as he met some of the 16-24-year-olds taking part in the award-winning programme run in partnership with Bath College for those who traditional schooling is not catering for.
Mr Norris learnt how the youngsters are gaining qualifications, work experience and life skills ensuring they can get back into school, college or employment, with cooking with professional chefs and training with Olympic medal winning athletes on offer.
Ahead of the ceremony, Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “School is fantastic, but it isn’t for everyone. The service Bath Rugby Foundation provide youngsters in this great city is invaluable.
“Cake on The Rec – what a great way to mark two decades of a charity that helps thousands of young Bathonians each year, every year.
“Sport has a unique power to change lives and it is a credit to Lynne and her team when you see the great work they do in the community. Here’s to the next 20 years!”.
Lynne Fernquest added: “Bath Rugby Foundation is proud to welcome West of England Combine Authority Mayor, Dan Norris, to its home at The Rec.
“It’s our 20th birthday later this year, and it’s brilliant to kick off the celebrations with this visit. The Mayor met some of our students and this is recognition of the tens of thousands of young lives we have impacted since 2003.
“Annually Bath Rugby Foundation builds confidence, develops skills and creates independent pathways for around 3,000 children and young adults, and our Alternative Learning Hub, which caters for 14-24-year-olds disengaged with traditional education, is where some of the most powerful change takes place.
“Bath Rugby Foundation is Bath Rugby’s official charity, but it really belongs to the people of Bath, without whose generosity we couldn’t make the difference we do.”
Changing the lives of around 3,000 young people annually through their 12 community programmes, Bath Rugby Foundation was launched in 2003 after England won the Rugby World Cup and has grown to become a 20-strong team working with schools, colleges, and businesses across the region.