SONI and Ulster Rugby have announced the allocation of the Real Rugby Heroes of COVID-19 bursary fund - and Randalstown were among the big winners.
A total fund of £8,000 was made available by SONI to help support community rugby with the anticipated expenses of a post COVID-19 return to activity.
The fund was tiered in three bursary levels of £1000, £500 and £250.
Individuals were asked to make applications on behalf of clubs who supported their community during the ongoing pandemic.
Randalstown RFC were awarded a bursary of £500 by demonstrating community support during COVID-19 including repurposing club funds to support the local foodbank, setting up monthly collections to encourage community donations and managing fundraising initiatives to support local charities.
Jo Aston, Managing Director of SONI, paid tribute to all the winners.
“We are proud to be able to support community rugby clubs throughout Ulster as they seek a return to activity,” he said.
“I personally have been overwhelmed by the individual efforts each nominated club made to support vulnerable people during COVID-19. These are extraordinary times and we recognise more than ever that rugby clubs are a vital asset to the communities they operate within.”
The Real Rugby Heroes of COVID-19 bursary, is an extension of the Real Rugby Heroes programme which was put on hold as COVID-19 took its toll on the game.
SONI in partnership with Ulster Rugby agreed to repurpose budgets to support community rugby clubs as they navigate a return to the game. The original Real Rugby Heroes format will recommence later this summer.
Barry Willis, Rugby Operations Manager at Ulster Rugby added: “We are incredibly proud of how the clubs have reacted, and would like to congratulate each and every club who have been awarded a bursary.
“It is often said that communities pull together when times are tough and in rugby circles the Real Rugby Heroes of COVID-19 has very much proved that point.”