GRASSROOTS rugby is back in business and clubs in Bradford are ready to hit the ground running thanks to the NatWest RugbyForce initiative and the RFU.

Clubs including Wibsey and Bradford Salem carried out improvements and repairs to their facilities to ensure they were ready for the resumption of the sport at community level.

They were among 800 clubs across the country that took part in the event, after the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) recently gave the green light for clubs to start limited and restricted contact rugby training with inter-club non-contact fixtures able to be organised.

This is a big step for clubs as the RFU moves to phase D in their 'Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.'

Plenty of hard work has gone into making the return to community rugby possible, with volunteers at clubs certainly not shy in rolling up their sleeves to play their part.

Now in its 12th year, NatWest RugbyForce is a nationwide programme developed with the RFU which provides an opportunity for rugby clubs to welcome team members and volunteers back to help make valuable improvements to their clubs.

With the programme now able to return safely, NatWest is offering more support for the rugby community than ever before with a record number of clubs getting involved in the programme this year.

NatWest has awarded grants ranging from £500 to £3000 to clubs to help renovate facilities and remain sustainable for longer in these challenging times.

Extra planning was also required to ensure the activity took place safely, with clubs following the Government Coronavirus guidelines and the RFU’s guidance at all times.

Rugby at all levels would not be possible without the efforts of everyone on the grassroots scene, with the hard work not lost on those at the top level.

NatWest RugbyForce ambassador Maggie Alphonsi said: “Grassroots clubs are the foundation of our rugby community and it's so important that we look after them, all muck in and get them ready for when rugby returns.”

Ex-England player and NatWest RugbyForce ambassador James Haskell added: “I love seeing all the volunteers being involved and getting their clubs ready for the return to rugby.”

To stay up to date with NatWest’s rugby activity, follow @NatWest_Rugby and @EnglandRugby on Twitter.