Melton Mowbray RFC’s resurgence was further bolstered last week when the club received an award from rugby’s national governing body.
On the pitch, the club is enjoying one of the best spells in its 104-year history with the First XV riding high in Midlands One East after back-to-back championships and a county cup win.
But it was the off-field servants who received the plaudits this time around after helping the Burton Road-based club earn the RFU Club Accreditation award.
The bid for RFU accreditation was 18 months in the making and engineered by the club’s welfare officer Andrew Thorpe and long-time stalwart Brian Hesford who is also the current LRU county president.
As well as its prestige, the award will also be essential for clubs to receive financial support from the RFU in the coming years.
Brian said: “It leaves us in shape to get grants and help somewhere down the line.
“The RFU has to have confidence in the clubs that they are going to put money into.”
The award is based on six key areas which are designed to strengthen and secure the future of grassroots clubs - retaining and developing players; recruiting new players; recruiting and retaining high quality coaches, volunteers and referees; effective and efficient facilities; effective and efficient management and governance; integration with the local community.
It covers every section of the club from senior and ladies’ rugby to its junior and mini sections which have thrived over the last decade.
Brian added: “The award also gives confidence to parents that the club is being run properly and there are systems in place if someone is injured or there is bullying.
“It’s important that parents know their kids are going to be looked after properly - we are one of the best in Leicestershire for that.”
Melton RFC has identified an action plan it hopes to meet as a result of the accreditation which includes long-term improvements to club facilities and helping younger players adapt from junior and Colts rugby into the senior game.
Club chairman Marcus Twidale said: “From the club’s point of view it’s important we have certain standards and that will help us in the future.
“Club accreditation is something the RFU is pushing and we wanted to support it.”