Time is running out for volunteers to attend the launch event for the IRFU Women In Rugby Network on Sunday March 5th. The event will be the first of its kind, but it’s also a stepping stone towards strong networks being established at provincial level.
Meadhbh Lewis will be the network facilitator in Munster. She is the 3rd Level Representative on the Munster Branch Women’s Committee while working with the IRFU as Youth Council Coordinator and with Munster Rugby in Athletic Performance & Rugby Analysis.
Meadhbh spoke to IrishRugby.ie about the initiative.
Meadhbh, what can we expect in Johnstown Estate on Sunday March 5th:
ML: I see it as a great opportunity for women to form connections with other volunteers in similar roles as themselves. I know it’s something I really would have benefited from myself when I was coming into leadership roles at a younger age – to have a support network to lean on, talk to and get their advice. It’s very exciting to be a part of setting it up now.
I’m really looking forward to meeting people from Munster at the event and seeing how the network might work for them at a provincial level. The main thing for me is the support element of the network, but it will be really collaborative as to how we shape it.
What are you seeing from your perspective around the changing needs of volunteerism?
ML: Volunteering is challenging. Everyone has so much going on these days and it can be difficult to get people to commit. The shared learning from this network in how to engage new volunteers will be really beneficial.
We’re also looking at ways to retain more young people in the game. We’ve got so much insight from people coming through. They’re the most recent to have played the game, have those experiences on the pitch and can offer such a fresh perspective on what’s going on within a club. It’s definitely the way forward.
Is it fair to say we need to engage younger people now if we want them to be a part of building a future for rugby?
Yes. It’s about empowering them now and giving them the skills. There’s a massive opportunity through this network for younger leaders to develop connections and also benefit from the mentorship of more experienced volunteers.
Hopefully, we can build momentum from this launch and really go after it in the provinces to get even more people involved.
Sunday March 5th 2023
IRFU Women in Rugby Network Launch
The Johnstown Estate, Enfield, Co. Meath, A83 V070
11:00 – 15:00
IRFU Women In Rugby Network Facilitators:
- Connacht – Liz Brady
- Leinster – Jacinta O’Rourke
- Munster – Meadhbh Lewis
- Ulster – Sorcha Mac Laimhín