"Impact '25" - RFU Announce Major Women's Rugby Investment 500 Days From 2025 Rugby World Cup - Ruck

“Impact ’25” – RFU Announce Major Women’s Rugby Investment 500 Days From 2025 Rugby World Cup

The RFU have announced major investment plans to continue the growth of women’s rugby, by launching ‘Impact 25’ today in Bristol. The collaborative effort will see the RFU, work with the UK Government, Sport England and UK Sport, to deliver significant funds to increase rugby opportunities for women and girls.

The legacy programme was celebrated at North Bristol RFC today, with stakeholders from across rugby, politics and women’s sport in attendance. England Rugby Women’s and Bristol Bears’ players Amber Reed and Sarah Bern, Rugby World Cup winner and TV presenter, Maggie Alphonsi, and former England football Lioness Fara Williams were all in attendance. These sporting legends shared the field with North Bristol’s local girls teams, in a coming together of the professional and grass roots of women’s sport.

– Mandatory by-line: Robbie Stephenson/JMP – 09/04/2024 – RUGBY – North Bristol RFC – Impact 25 Celebration

Today’s milestone event also marked 500 days until the start of the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup, with the opening fixture set to be hosted at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light. The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have also committed £12.13m into the initiative, with the magnitude of the amount amplifying the importance of women’s rugby’s continued growth.

This multi-million pound contribution was bestowed to the Home Unions, to help elevate the platform of women’s rugby on the run up to next year’s tournament. A statement from the RFU regarding the launch of Impact ’25 read:

Fara Williams at the Impact 25 event at North Bristol RFC – Mandatory by-line: Robbie Stephenson/JMP – 09/04/2024 – RUGBY – North Bristol RFC – Impact 25 Celebration

“Impact ’25 will will provide substantial improvements in facilities and greater opportunities for females at all levels of the game in England, with a range of support being offered to clubs across four key pillars: Facility Development, Coaches and Match Officials, Playing and Volunteering, and Community and Fan Engagement.  

Amber Reed, Red Roses centre added: “It’s so great to see the ever-growing number of opportunities to get involved in rugby whether that be through playing, being a match official, as a coach or in a volunteer role. Rugby has given me so much and I’m so excited to see other women and girls have their lives positively changed by our sport thanks to Impact ’25 – I’d strongly encourage anyone who’s interested to get involved in the sport.” 

Amber Reed, Co Captain of Bristol Bears Women during the Allianz Premier 15s semi-final match between Exeter Chiefs Women and Bristol Bears Women at Sandy Park on 22 May 2022. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK.

“Encouraging and enabling more women and girls to find their way into sport and physical activity is at the core of our Uniting the Movement strategy.  We support the RFU’s target of getting 100,000 women and girls playing rugby by 2027.   We have made progress towards this and the Rugby World Cup 2025 and the Impact Programme will play a key role in achieving this.  It is important we work together to maximise the impact that the World Cup will have, ensuring that more women and girls get the opportunity to participate in their communities and enjoy the benefit of great facilities and other support to realise their potential.”

Sarah Bern of England Red Roses on the break during the international friendly match between England Red Roses and Canada women at Sandy Park, Exeter on 23rd Sept 2023. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

Sarah Bern, Red Roses and Bristol Bears prop added: “We’ve seen huge developments in the women’s game over the past few years and the investment from Impact ‘25 and the awareness next year’s Rugby World Cup will bring to rugby is only going to help drive that growth even further. I am so excited to see the impact that next year’s tournament will have on growing the sport that I love so much.” 

RFU CEO Bill Sweeney said: “The opportunity to grow the women’s and girls’ game was a primary driver behind our bid to host Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025, and we are very grateful to Government for committing funding to this transformational programme as part of the tournament. 

Try celebrations for Amber Reed of England Red Roses during the international friendly match between England Red Roses and Canada women at StoneX Stadium, London on Saturday 30 September 2023. Photo: James Whitehead/PPAUK

“Working together with Government, UK Sport, Sport England and World Rugby we will create a legacy for women’s rugby in England and the home nations, both in terms of attracting more fans and people to play, coach, officiate, and volunteer. 

“We are already seeing huge strides forward being made thanks to Impact ‘25 and look forward to seeing further progress over the coming months and years.”