Blog & News from SajeImpact - Tags: Rugby

18 Weeks and Counting

18 Weeks and Counting

I will be 55 in just 18 weeks time. For me life will be able to take another step into the next season in my life.

When this happens I am hoping to make greater use of this site for my musings on life and the world around! I have one big interview in May which might put these plans back a little bit (about 4 years) but either way there will be more time for travel and writing.

Stay tuned.


Seasons in Life - The Next one for Andy and Saje Impact

There are seasons to life I believe. Well it certainly feels like that as I start September 201Changes in 2018!8.

A number of Sport Board positions come to their natural end after several years of voluntary service - The Sport & Recreation Alliance , Special Olympic and CIMSPA . I want to thank everybody who has helped and supported me during the last 8 years since leaving Parliament (losing the election!) and welcoming me into the world of sport.

It has been another fascinating learning curve working with a sector I have passion for and trying to bring a fresh perspective and influence practise and policy. I will continue to do this but in different ways over the next 'season', mainly through The Sports Think Tank and through SAJEIMPACT LTD where I have generated a series of partnerships to bring the best people I have worked with to the sector - like David Slemen Sport:80 Services Limited . As always Loughborough University Loughborough University London will play a large part of what I do.

I will announce a few new NED positions too over the coming weeks.

I have always had a passion for my home county so I will be doing more economic growth work in Leicestershire through the LLEP too

Here is to the new season. Even if that includes retiring formally from Birstall RFC!

Tags: Rugby

Reed Backs RFU Partnership with SportsRelief

Posted: Wed, 12 Oct 2016 09:43

Reed Backs RFU Partnership with SportsRelief

Reed Backs RFU Partnership with SportsRelief

Saje Impact was present this week at a special reception at the Shard to launch a new partnership between the RFU and Sport Relief.

Saje Impact works to use the power of sport to change lives through a variety of programmes and believes this new partnership will increase the impact of rugby beyond the rugby clubs up and down the country.

Andy Reed said "I believe our work with a variety of partners like School of Hard Knocks, Wooden Spoon, Atlas Foundation, HITZ RF foundation and BARA have shown how we can change lives through sport. We are excited by the emphasis of this new initiative to use rugby for social good.

England Rugby has announced a charity partnership with Sport Relief with an ambition to raise £4 million over four years to support projects and programmes that use rugby to help change people's lives and as a tool for social good.

Money raised through this partnership will be awarded as grants by Comic Relief to charitable projects and programmes, through the Try for Change Fund, which is a fully managed fund by Comic Relief.

Ian Ritchie, RFU Chief Executive said "Partnering with Sport Relief sets out our clear commitment to grow rugby as a tool for social good and widen the impact of rugby, and its values, to improve the lives of those who need it most. We are very proud to make our commitment to raising £4million over the next four years."

The grants offered through the Try for Change Fund will focus on projects that increase community cohesion, positively impact on a young person's educational attainment, employability and mental health and which help reduce a young person's risk of involvement in gangs or offending.

More details of the Try for Change Fund and the grant strategy will be released in due course.

Michele Settle, Director, UK Campaigns & Brands at Comic Relief said: "We're delighted to have been chosen as a partner of England Rugby. We believe that sport is a powerful tool for helping bring about social change and their commitment over four years will make a huge difference to the lives of people right here in the UK and across the world's poorest communities."

Sport plays an important role in improving the lives of millions of people across the world – bringing people together to play, learn, improve their health and benefit from shared experiences. The Try for Change Fund aims to help people reach their goals and fulfil their potential, as well as deliver long-term benefits to the wider community.

As part of England Rugby's partnership with Sport Relief, a number of high-profile charitable events will take place across the four-year period from now until Rugby World Cup 2019 in order to help achieve the £4million fundraising target.

For more information about the Try for Change Fund and our fundraising programme please visit

Tags: RFU, Sport Relief, rugby

Twickenham Charity Game Supports Injured Players Foundation

Posted: Mon, 28 Mar 2016 16:39

Twickenham Charity Game Supports Injured Players Foundation

Twickenham Charity Game Supports Injured Players Foundation

Andy Reed and Saje Impact were proud supporters of a charity rugby game played on the hallowed turph at the home of English Rugby this week at Twickenham.

Reed was playing for the Commons & Lords team – made up of politicians, staff from Westminster and a handful of 'ringers'. As the former MP for Loughborough Andy Reed was heavily involved in the Parliamentary rugby side and set up the inaugural annual charity game at Twickenham in 2008 for Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

"I have been lucky to have played rugby for 40 years this autumn.. happily coinciding with the 40th anniversary of my own club side Birstall RFC. So it is a special year for us at Saje Impact as we deliver more in the rugby family. So it was an easy choice for us to support this game and this Charity.

"I have been very fortunate to have played about 11 times at Twickenham over the last decade but it never loses the magic..and this year was special just after England had won the 6 Nations Grand Slam and we had the cup with us on the day. It was also special because we actually won the game 34-32. I am glad I hadn't known it was so close otherwise I wouldn't have rushed my missed conversion!

At Saje Impact we work with lots of people in rugby and always feel we want to give back to the rugby community. I know from our work with the Rich Engelgardt Foundation just how good the IPF have been in looking after seriously injured players.

"We will look to see how we can help again in 2017 as we build our rugby portfolio.


Saje Impact and Andy Reed work with School of Hard Knocks, Leicester Tigers Foundation, Birstall RFC, The RE Trust, Atlas Foundation etc

Tags: Twickenham, commons & Lords Rugby, rugby

Rugby The Winner

Posted: Sun, 01 Nov 2015 19:11

Rugby The Winner

Rugby The Winner

As the Rugby World Cup came to an end with a fantastic display form the All Blacks to retain the trophy there was universal acclaim that this had been the best World Cup.

"To make sure the excitement of the RWC is not lost there will be new initiatives and renewed vigour and promotion of the game. Having played for over 35 years my time on the pitch is coming to a close soon and I will be doing even more off the pitch to promote the game. More importantly I believe there are greater opportunities to use our game for social good – changing and improving people's lives through the power of sport, and particularly rugby."

Andy reed said "At Saje Impact we have been lucky to work in and around rugby for a long time from grass roots to national initiatives. As some projects draw to a close as the Rugby World Cup moves on to Japan in 2019 we will be using our time to go deeper into using rugby."

"Already we are involved with my own local club Birstall RFC where there may be exciting plans ahead, with the Area Legacy Group and the projects we have funded, through to helping the Leicester Tigers Foundation. I will be working more with Wasps Foundation work and the British Asian Rugby Association and the Asian Sports Foundation as we try to widen the base of the game in multi cultural Cities like Leicester, Nottingham and across the West Midlands."

"There are many great rugby charities doing great work and in particular I have been happy to help School of Hard Knocks and will get more deeply involved with a new role in the new year. I am working on the concept of the Sport Impact Fund primarily to help great innovations and charities to scale the work they do. I continue to support Premier Rugby and the community work they do not just at Leicester but across the 12 clubs & especially the Hitz Programme and Urban Rugby ideas.

I will remain very much involved in the Parliamentary Rugby Group and Team by helping it achieve its aims of promoting rugby and raising money for good rugby charities – like those supported by the RFU Try for Change. The Parliamentary World Cup in Japan in 2019 seems a very attractive proposition to be my last as a player?

"Through our partnership @GandGtweets we have help deliver the 'Fanzone' experience in Rugby and a seven week programme of events. We hope to build on te experience and continue to develop the 'Rugby' brand as well as take the lessons we learned to other major events. Sports events don't have to all be about the usual food and drink as we managed to demonstrate. we also hope to announce a new link with a rugby charity soon. "

"Through the NED role I have with EPpartners we will certainly be increasing our profile in the game as well as expanding through football and into the wider sports network. But both David Slemen and I are steeped in rugby culture and we know clubs and organisations want to deal with people who reflect those values. We certainly hope so.

"After chairing for the last couple of years I am also hoping the Churches across the UK will want to continue to be involved in connecting with rugby in so many different ways.. from chaplaincy to running #o2Touch!

"I am sure I have missed some of the things that we are likely to be doing in 2016 – but we are really looking forward to doing more rugby!

Tags: Rugby, Rugby World Cup, Sohk, Tigers Foundation, Wasps

Social Media Campaign Launched to Capture Rugby World Cup Legacy

Posted: Sat, 25 Jul 2015 12:35

Social Media Campaign Launched to Capture Rugby World Cup Legacy

Social Media Campaign Launched to Capture Rugby World Cup Legacy

A social media campaign has been launched today in the RFUs 'Area 4' to promote a Legacy Innovation Fund made available in the region.

Thanks to a partners programme of local rugby supporting companies grants have been made available across Area 4 to fund innovative ways to retain players and grow the reach of the game and to make it sustainable for future generations of players.

The Activation and Legacy Group for RFU Area 4, comprises Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, the Eastern Counties and East Midlands.

Andy Reed said "We want to capture the breadth of activity across Area 4 made possible by these grants and the plans clubs have to grow the game whilst the attention of the nation is on rugby from September to the end of October.

We want to capture images, video and stories on Facebook, twitter and Instagram all using the hashtag #area4legacy We want clubs, foundations, coaches and players in the area to tell their story of the RWC and their legacy plans. We want to see it from the grassroots up. We want to know what your rugby world cup experience is!

facebook :

twitter @area4legacy

Instagram: area4legacyy

We look forward to the legacy being brought to life by your experiences!

Tags: Area4 Legacy, Rugby, Rwc

The Future for Rugby.

Posted: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 13:56

The Future for Rugby.

The Future for Rugby.

Rugby Blog – thinking about future:

As the start of the Rugby World Cup draws nearer and formal training starts in earnest for my last full season of rugby at Birstall RFC I am preparing myself for a joining a panel of experts on the future of rugby at this Brighton University conference in early September.

So this post is not my thoughts on the future of the game; it is more a list of questions I am asking myself in preparation for the conference by asking you; friends and colleagues who know, love and want to see our game flourish.

But by 2030 what will our sport look like and what do we need to do to preserve the game? The scope of my thoughts are quite far reaching. I am really interested to know what you think about the elite & international game as well as how we create social family clubs. I want to know about the commercial viability of professional club rugby as well as about the steps we are taking to protect youngsters from concussion. How will we deal with equity – will we be able to grow the womens game, disability sports and genuinely break out into every community in our country.

I write this today after another legacy group meeting and my experience of working and thinking about legacy from the RWC as well as being challenged by my other work at the moment making all sports 'Fit for the Future'.

We have been fortunate in the 'Area 4 Legacy Board' that we have generated a fund from business sponsors in the area to back a series of projects that use innovative ideas and can demonstrate their sustainability. We are looking for the best projects to fund to show that clubs, foundations, CBs, and others recognise the challenges facing all sports and rugby specifically in remaining relevant for the 21st century. We see this as an innovation fund to secure the future of the game in a fast changing world.

So some questions. What is happening at your club. How many teams did you used to out out ; how many now? What innovations have you introduced to welcome new groups of players. What adaptations to the timing and frequency of training and the number of games have you put in place. How do you communicate with your players. How do you (plan) to communicate with non players. Do you know who your target audience is and where they are? How do you segment and market to your local community? What do you offer as club to somebody interested in rugby; is it just 15 a side men and juniors. Do you have a women side, social sides, touch and sevens offers? Does it all happen at the club. If you were told that the pool of players wiling to play full contact rugby most weekends and training 1-2 times per week will diminish and disappear in the next 20 years what would you do to keep rugby alive? What other forms of rugby are available and would you be willing to deliver them?

What game is it that you are trying to preserve? The XV club game or anything that resembles rugby – 7s, Touch, senior touch. What innovations on variants of the game would you welcome?

How inclusive is your club really? Do you know where you draw your players from – socially as well as geographically and does this diminish your pool of players as your area changes over the next 15 years?

These are a series of questions I can see most clubs applying for our innovation fund have not thought about and quite understandably. Club volunteers are here to help their club and the game they love and understand. Growing a a different type of game and offer is something hard to graft onto our existing structures. I have also been struck by the inability of various parts of our structure to get out of their Silos and only seeing things from a narrow perspective. We need to let innovation and creativity into the game if it is to expand surely? No single body will have all the answers. That's why I would love to hear from clubs, rugby players, non rugby players, spectators and volunteers (and families of rugby nuts!)

Tags: Rugby

The Problem with Rugby?

Posted: Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:33

The Problem with Rugby?

The Problem with Rugby?

The shock 'resignation' of Debbie Jevans the CEO of ER2015 last Friday has once again opened up a series of questions about who really runs the RFU and what 'politics' hide behind every decision.

I was taken to task last week on a Facebook post for suggesting once again that the RFU Council needs reform "as they all know far more about rugby than I ever will". Of course this both misses the point, but also reinforces the problems that Jevans will have come across and put so well in the Gavin Mears article in the Telegraph today.

As a current player (Birstall RFC since 1979 & C&Lds since 1997) past President (10 years) as well as various committees and inquiries I am not sure how much more I need to know and understand before my views count. But this is the problem. Service length still seems a requirement and in the general sense this is what the reforms I am trying to lead at the SRA are about – having the right skills not the length of service being the main criteria. Yes you need some experience and corporate memory but not I would suggest an entire Board or committee. The danger for me and I have seen this all too often as I get involved in the RWC Legacy Group is that committee members all too often look backwards to some glory days – rather than making our sport fir for the future. At the age of 50 I can add something and I keep up to date with future trends for work, pleasure and academic interest. Looking backwards is not an option even for Rugby!

Over time the truth will come out about the circumstances surrounding DJs leaving ER2015. Nobody believes an easily recognised crisis comms piece of work and 'personal circumstances'. To be fair the fact that 4 days into the story and the facts have not emerged as a god sign of the progress made since I was part of the Blackett Inquiry into the removal of John Steele as CEO in 2010. At that time one of our main findings and recommendation was to end the leak culture that was destroying the RFU and it reputation. I am impressed at the discipline shown so far. As far as I know most requests for information on and off the record have been referred to the press team!

Much of what appears in the Telegraph article runs true for me. There is a two way tension of the rugby old guard wanting this RWC to be theirs and the 2012 outriders wanting to create another Olympic style success for rugby in the autumn. Personally I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. If we want to carry on as a sport we have to grow outside our current demographics and just appealing to more of the same rugby audience won't help us grow the game. That's why I support the concepts they are bringing to the RWC and trying to engage the whole nation – not just rugby players & fans. There have been times I have felt they have lost some of the essence of rugby in what they are trying to do but I see this as part of a wider strategy for the long term health of my game – the game I love.

I have witnessed the meetings where the Council and CBs moan about the 'RFU' as though it was some other being – rather than the members realising they 'are' the RFU. I have also witnessed some of the worst and most immature behaviour I have ever seen in my professional adult life – and I was in politics for 20 years! I am afraid the culture of administration, entitlement and conservatism is slowly destroying the game. The current crop won't see the fruits of their endeavour. It is a slow decline but it is happening.

I had another look at the Slaughter & May governance report over the weekend and then saw how many of these proposals have been watered down or rejected. I am afraid none of us at grass-roots level can justify a Council of 60+ members and the costs associated with running this group and the privileges they enjoy. I don't yet know the true costs but figures of £1-1.5m are banded about. I have heard that Committees have to be created to generate enough work to justify their existence. I have witnessed a depressing level of incompetence at CB level as well as at Council. I am afraid the governance of the RFU still leaves so much to be desired despite recent improvements in the Executive team and the changes at Board level.

In the build up to the RWC I hope the focus on continuing modernisation of governance will not be lost. Certainly once this RWC is out of the way I will want to see voices clamouring for more change and for it to be much faster. The world is changing and so should we. I am happy to add my voice to anybody calling for change and the reform of Council and CBs.

Tags: ER2015, RFU, rugby

Signing Up to Help Leicester Tigers Foundation

Posted: Sun, 01 Mar 2015 09:14

Signing Up to Help Leicester Tigers Foundation

Signing Up to Help Leicester Tigers Foundation

We are delighted to be helping the newly created Leicester Tigers Foundation.

The Foundation aims to be at the heart of the local community and uses the power of rugby and other sports to educate, motivate and inspire positive futures for all. Underpinning the work of course are the core values of the Tigers and rugby – respect, discipline, teamwork, hard work and fun!

We are able to utilise the power of the Leiecster Tigers brand to deliver community based programmes aiming to change people's lives and improve sporting access and coaching in the community.

Andy said "This is a great opportunity to be involved in things we love – rugby, Tigers, and improving the lives of our local community through sport and specifically rugby. When working doesn't seem like work its a great feeling. Working with the Tigers Foundation certainly is in that category and we are lucky to have so many rugby connected projects in our portfolio"

Want to know more or want to support the foundation – check here.

Tags: Leicester tigers foundation, Matt hampson, rugby, tigers

Professional Sports Careers - Rugby Players

Posted: Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:57

Professional Sports Careers - Rugby Players

Professional Sports Careers - Rugby Players

Are you a retired professional rugby player and want to help in a research project at Loughborough University.

If you are interested please contact Sabrina Heimler (PHD researcher) at the contact details included below:

Research aim:

Our work lays the foci of research on the study of professional sport careers, looking at the careers of retired ex-professional rugby players, trying to gain a more holistic understanding of how they make sense of their playing career and beyond. Critical attention is drawn to current academic work, as professional sports careers have not been considered in the sense of a working career, regarding 'sport as work'. Yet, I like to argue that sport professionals go through a process of career development and follow various career paths and experience career transitions, transferring vocational theories into a sporting context.

Research method:

As this is a new strand of research, we are interested to gain an all-encompassing account of what a career in rugby is like, by listening to the life stories of retired ex-professionals.

At this point, I would like to stress that we are well aware of the calibre of our research participants and that all shared information will be treated with strict confidence, and will be kept anonymous and not identifiable at all times.

Research implications:

The research aims to generate knowledge for the following parties:

  • Academic audience, to contribute to knowledge generation in this scarce field of research.
  • Current and future player generations, to offer insights about career paths.
  • Other closely related stakeholder groups.

Tags: Loughborough University, retired rugby players, rugby

Church Response to Rugby World Cup in Leicestershire

Posted: Sun, 04 Jan 2015 16:30

Church Response to Rugby World Cup in Leicestershire

Church Response to Rugby World Cup in Leicestershire

The Rugby World Cup is coming to Leicestershire and Engage2015 is helping the Church prepare.

The countdown to Rugby's biggest and most exciting event is on. This September, the best teams in the world will be touching down in England for a spectacular celebration of Rugby and everyone's invited. 2015 is going to be a massive year for Rugby and the Church.

The tournament kicks off on September 18th and concludes at the Final on 31st October at Twickenham.

Of course in rugby mad Leicester the tournament is coming directly to use with 3 games being played in the City. Teams will be based in the County too with both Tonga, Uruguay and Namibia at Loughborough University and Canada based at Leicester Grammar School. We hope events around the presence of the teams will bring the County alive during September.

There will be three matches in Leicester all hosted at the King Power Stadium – to be known as the Leicester Stadium during the tournament.

2.30 Sunday 4th October, Argentina v Tonga

5pm Tuesday 6th October Canada v Romania

12pm Sunday 11th October Argentina v Namibia

Many people will remember the amazing atmosphere created by the Olympics in 2012 and the work done by 'More than Gold' to encourage the Church to connect. In 2015 the organisers want to recapture some of that spirit again at the RWC, and at Engage2015 we want to encourage and equip the Church to do join in.

Andy Reed Chair of Engage2015 said "We aim to provide a resource to Churches to help them during this event. We know churches are already busy so we don't want to create unnecessary extra burden but we hope you can use the resources to add a rugby theme to some existing work – like Messy Church providing rugby resources or having a rugby themed guest event.

"We also have great ideas to help if you want to do more. We exist to share ideas and some resources but for the local church to work out what works best for them. But you could do

  1. Festivals – why not organise a community based rugby themed festival – we have training and resources available on the website and through Fusion who are heading up this work
  2. Hospitality – with over 500,000 visitors to the watch the tournament and games in Leicester there will be a great opportunity for us to show Christian hospitality for families and supporters.
  3. Children & Youth work – with a Rugby World Cup theme. Resources are being produced to share from Messy Church and Scripture Union for example
  4. Guest Events – with Christians in sport Sports Quiz , breakfasts with Christian Rugby players etc. Perhaps a Big Screen with some of the bigger games and a rugby festival/party atmosphere.
  5. Rugby – with the introduction of Touch rugby and family friendly versions Churches can be a fun way to showcase your church in the community. Resources and training are available and we are being encouraged by the RFU to get more families playing together. It is a great game for all ages. Honestly!

Over in Rugby, the birthplace of the game we are working with Hope14 to produce material to tell the story of Webb Ellis and Rugby School and its Christian heritage.

We hope Leicester will play host to another game – the Churches v a British Asian invitation side for example.

We are not limited by our ideas – we are here to encourage you to do whatever fits your community or congregation whilst the nation is going mad about rugby for a few weeks and to show we are connected to our communities.

You can keep up to date and share ideas with Engage2015 by signing up to the email newsletter, follow us on social media – twitter @engage2015 Facebook www.facebook/engage2015 or visit our website

Andy Reed OBE is Chair of Engage2015

Tags: Church, Engage2015, Rugby, Rugby World Cup

Rugby in Rugby in 2015

Posted: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:23

Rugby in Rugby in 2015

It has been another good week for the work we are doing in Rugby with our G&G Partners – helping Rugby BC to deliver a festival of Rugby to celebrate the Rugby World Cup in England and Wales next September and October.

The Sponsors were in town this week to look at what 'activation' they might do in the Birth Place of the Game.

We believe Rugby will be a great destination for the hundreds of thousands of supporters from around the world who will be in England during the RWC and we want to ensure all parts of the local community engage in this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Tags: Rugby, Rugby Bc, Rugby World Cup

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