Turning a negative to a positive: Banbury Rugby Club offers helping hand to youngster after pitch is vandalised

The Banbury Rugby Club turned a negative incident of vandalism into a positive by helping one of those involved turn his life around for the better.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 5:04 pm
The Banbury Rugby Club turned a negative incident of vandalism into a positive by helping one of those involved turn his life around for the better. (Submitted image)

Officials with the Banbury Rugby Union Football Club discovered its grounds had been vandalised last month. Club officials learned who was involved, and instead trying prosecute them the club chose to offer then help and give them an opportunity to make amends.

Matt Goode, director of rugby operations with Banbury Rugby Union Football Club, spoke with the Banbury Guardian about the acts of vandalism, how the club handled the situation and how they chose to offer help to those involved.

The incident started after it was discovered some people punched and kicked some of the glass panels in the dugouts on the grounds. There were also a few things thrown around the rugby pitch and some notice boards damaged.

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Matt Goode, director of rugby operations with Banbury Rugby Union Football Club, helped turn a negative incident of vandalism at the club into a positive by helping one of those involved land a job. (Submitted photo)

Matt said: "We've got really good CCTV, and we managed to see the boys and I knew of one of them."

Matt got in touch with one of them, and within a few days of the incident the three 18-year-old young men came forward to the club.

He added: "They apologised, were really remorseful and wanted to help out in someway. We did have a chat, and I did sort of go into them a bit about it."

The three young men later came back to the rugby club to perform acts of community service, which included picking up litter on the rugby grounds.

While talking with the young men Matt learned one of them was NEET, also known as not in education, employment, or training.

Through using the club's connections - a friend of the rugby club - the young man was offered an apprenticeship role at a local business. Sam and Sasha Gilbert of Finest Flooring Services Ltd. in Banbury wanted to help, and offered the apprenticeship role.

Sam said: "He now has a full-time position with us, and is a valued member of the team."

All three young men have also agreed to repay the Banbury Rugby Club for the damages caused during the acts of vandalism caused last month.

The Banbury Rugby Club offers a variety of community programmes from its mentoring scheme to walking rugby to working with activities at Frank Wise School too.

Matt added: "Part of my role at the rugby club is looking at how we can help youngsters.

"We go into schools and deliver rugby sessions. Some kids find school really difficult so we try to keep them on the right track with positive role models."

Any local Banbury area business who would like to help or become a sponsor within the Banbury Rugby Club's mentorship programme can contact Matt Goode through his email address here: [email protected]

For more information on the Banbury Rugby Club and its community activities see its website here: https://www.banburyrufc.co.uk/ or its Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BanburyRugbyClubOfficial/Matt added: "This is a perfect example of what we do as a club. This is what we're all about - helping people. Everybody makes mistakes, but if you can learn from them then the world can be a better place.

"We're not just a rugby club. We don't want to make rugby players. We want to develop them as people not just as rugby players."