John Keohane: The rugby community programme in memory of Paul Keohane

Schools' festival

Thanet Wanderers rugby club has always prided itself on being a community club and over the last 30 years has run a number of outreach programmes in Thanet & East Kent schools to encourage children into the sport of rugby union.

The schools and community programmes was given a significant boost in 2015 with the launch of the Paul Keohane Sports Fund. The fund’s objective was to engage and enthuse Thanet School children to play rugby and to fund qualified coaches to deliver training and coaching sessions. The genesis of the re-invigorated programme was when friends of the late Paul arranged a charity lunch to celebrate his life.

Paul, who sadly passed away in 2015, was a passionate sportsman. A former Thanet Wanderer, he also played junior international hockey, regional rugby, and gained 4 blues at Oxford. He worked in the investment banking sector in the City of London, during which time he sponsored under-privileged children to play all sports and this was the catalyst for the Paul Keohane Sports Fund (PKSF) programme.

The PKSF fund has been received fantastic support from Thanet Wanderers’ main sponsors, London Array and Miles and Barr, and also received awards from Kent and England RFUs. Thanet Wanderers has given the programme its full support and allowed the schools and community programme to provide curriculum coaching, after school clubs (hubs), inter school matches, rugby festivals, referees, balls, kits, training for coaches, all types of equipment, plus much more. During the first two years our local schools and community have benefited from over £30,000 of funded support.

In the future, the aim of our programme is to engage as many people as we can from our local schools and community. This could be as players, just for training, as spectators, as volunteers, as coaches, as referees or anything to do with our programme or club.  The programme delivers training to over 350 boys and girls per week and runs inter-schools games and tournaments so more support is always welcome.

By working with our local schools and community the hope is that we can encourage people to raise aspiration and activity levels and in-turn to improve their wellbeing. The programme has also run open days where local business supporters go into the local schools to talk about the kind of values and employee skills they are seeking. These days have been incredibly well received by the schools and pupils.

The schools and community programme is more than just coaching rugby, it’s about encouraging children to be the best that they can be. The core values of rugby will help this and our community, as a whole, can only benefit from this.

So, how can you help? As with every community initiative it requires community effort and support. So, please come and join us on Saturday, April 4 for The Paul Keohane Sports Fund Lunch from 11.30am at Thanet Wanderers RUFC clubhouse (£25 per head for a  3 course meal with the majority going to the fund). This fundraising day is critical to the schools and community programme’s ongoing investments and success. Everyone is welcome to join in what is always a tremendously rewarding and fun day.

Full details of PKSF can be found here :
Full Details of Schools and Community: follow Schools and Community tab

To register for the PKSF lunch please email: [email protected]