From Day 1 of forming #rugbyunited, we've had the goal to support and back charities and have since had the pleasure of helping out several charities, from the Multiple Sclerosis society, to #RugbyAid Rugby for Heroes as well as many individual fund raising efforts.
More recently, we've been discussing adding our backing to a single charity, using our growing network to spread the word of the work they do and focussing any fundraising we do towards their benefit.
So we made the decision to support a single charity for the forseeable future -
Last week I went to meet an incredibly brave and hardworking young lady named Sam Billingham who started a charity called SODA or Survivors of Domestic Abuse after suffering horrifying treatment with her former partner. You can find out more about this incredible and inspiring charity by visiting their website here - http://www.sodahq.org and can read some of Sam's story here - http://news.sky.com/story/955195/using-make-up-to-fight-domestic-violenc...
Our reasons to support a non-rugby charity are wide ranging, 1) It's been quite difficult getting 'in' with some rugby clubs as they all support several different rugby related charities and are hesitant to cross promote 2) We wanted a charity that can be universally supported, Domestic abuse is totally indefensible, most people will know someone who has suffered domestic abuse in some form, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have suffered abuse according to the official stats. 3) The ethos of #rugbyunited and the rugby community in general is to protect and support, I'd like to think we are a good fit with SODA. 4) We didn't want to be a small cog in a huge charity, so being with a relatively small charity gives us the chance to help them grow both nationally and hopefully, internationally too. 5) Domestic abuse doesn't always only affect an adult or a parent, sometimes children are abused, or are aware of abuse happening in the home and we hope through grassroots and youth rugby that we can provide the kids with.a support network of peers to help them create some new and better memories.
Our initial meeting was filled with some ideas to combine the work SODA do with the work #RugbyUnited do, and for now, we will keep these ideas for this unique link up between us for now, but rest assured we will be providing the details over the course of the next few months, we won't be harassing people for money, but if there are any ways in which you can help, please do!
Sam will post from her account onto the #rugbyunited hashtag details of any upcoming events, and we will be reTweeting these as often as we can, but we'll also be working on a unique hashtag over the coming weeks so any of the projects or events can be passed on quicker, and obviously we will let you all know what that is as soon as possible....
So for now, go and follow Sam on Twitter @sammieb1980 and @SODAnationwide and help us to support them! If you have any ideas to fundraise or maybe link your rugby club to the joint project, drop me a line at the usual email (Rich@rugbyunited.info) and we'll see what we can do.