Scotland women’s international Sarah Law was out on the streets of Edinburgh today to urge Scots to ‘love their club’ this Valentine’s Day as Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish Rugby announce the return of Royal Bank RugbyForce for a tenth year.

The nationwide rugby programme –launched by Royal Bank ten years ago– supports grassroots clubs by providing funding to attract new members, make improvements and become more sustainable for the future.

The Scotland international was joined by Lismore RUFC players Fiona Wylie and Scott Touchstone-Hall alongside siblings Zac (11) and Gwen Alexander (5) from Cartha Queens RFC on a busy Royal Mile with 150 balloons, one for each grassroots club the Royal Bank supports each year, to rally a community-wide effort to protect the legacy of the local clubs and secure their longevity.

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The ‘Love your Club’ campaign, which will culminate in the exciting RugbyForce weekend in August, will include a series of events hosted by rugby clubs at the heart of their communities who are putting their funding to use.

Ten lucky clubs across the nation will also receive a visit from Scotland players who will be on hand to roll up their sleeves and get involved with everything from inspiring young players, getting involved in coaching development to painting changing rooms.

Royal Bank RugbyForce has donated more than £500,000 of funding and kit in the past 10 years to help more community clubs develop facilities that continue to make them appealing to their local communities and safe organisations for the future. 

With financial and practical support from the Royal Bank and professional advice from Scottish Rugby representatives, including Scotland and Glasgow Warriors legend Al Kellock, the programme has helped to deliver a range of initiatives, including coaching clinics, how to attract sponsorship and pitch improvements.

This year, Royal Bank will offer grants up to £1000 for club improvements as well as event support and kits to support your Royal Bank RugbyForce weekend.  Applications for funding can be made via the Royal Bank RugbyForce website at: http://www.scottishrugby.org/domestic-rugby/royal-bank-rugbyforce.

Scotland international Alex Dunbar is one of the elite stars featuring in a new series of short films being made to promote Royal Bank’s RugbyForce this year. He started his career at Annan RFC in Dumfries and Galloway.

He said: “I’ve been lucky enough to represent my country around the world but wherever you go, the story’s always the same – great rugby starts with a thriving club. That’s why supporting your grassroots team is so important.  Royal Bank RugbyForce is a brilliant initiative and it’s great to see so many local clubs in Scotland getting the support they need so we can continue to develop rugby talent from across the country.”

Malcolm Buchanan, chairman, Royal Bank of Scotland, Scotland Board, said: “Over the last ten years we’ve worked with Scottish Rugby to support those with a passion for rugby in local communities across the country. Royal Bank RugbyForce has donated both financial and practical support making a difference to clubs the length and breadth of the country with everything from installation of goal post protectors to business seminars and member recruitment support – all part of establishing a fantastic place to train, play and gather socially with rugby at the heart of it.

“We’re delighted to be able to continue to offer support this year and we would encourage clubs across the country to think about applying.”