AYR have agreed a partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh Awards that will make them the first rugby club in the country to be a local delivery centre for the Scheme. The DofE, as it is known, was founded in 1956 and offers a range of non-competitive voluntary activities for young people aged 14 to 24.
The centre will be administered in association with South Ayrshire Council by former club captain George McMillan, who has been involved with the DofE for around a quarter of a century. “Bringing the DofE programme into a club structure lets you organise the pathway better for a young person to join at bronze level and exit gold,” he said. “Being a leader at Belmont Academy I see many dropping out after bronze level because the programme interferes too much with playing their preferred sport, in this instance rugby.
“Being passionate about both, it makes sense to bring it to the club and be sympathetic around a young person’s playing season and onward to achieving their award. Although Ayr RFC is the centre of delivery it doesn’t mean you have to play rugby to participate in it. We are a club in the community for the community and therefore will be open to everyone”.
Barry Fisher, Director of DofE Scotland, added: “The DofE Charity is delighted that Ayr Rugby will be partnering with the sector leader provider of Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards – South Ayrshire Council. The innovative nature of the club and the experience of the council in providing great opportunities to celebrate young people’s achievements is a potent mix. I have no doubt that the young people involved will gain valuable life skills through all the DofE programme opportunities provided at Ayr Rugby”.
Ayr, who won the double in the season just ended, recently announced a partnership with the University of the West of Scotland.