ADMINISTRATOR Paul Rees says he is driven to ensure rugby training in a safe environment continues into the new season for Winnington Park Rugby Club’s youngsters.

The chairman of the club’s minis and juniors section feels it is vital that the opportunity is in place for their boys and girls to come together and practice their skills while mixing with their mates.

For under 6s through to under 16s boys, and under 13s to under 18s girls, training restarted on Monday for the first time in almost four months due to the UK lockdown from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am delighted by reaching this point but remain focused and determined to ensure the training can continue across the whole summer and into the new season,” said Paul.

“My main motivation and vision is to provide opportunities for our young boys and girls to train at the club and most importantly be with their friends.

“Covid-19 has had a devastating physical impact but just as important is the mental impact, particularly to our younger generations.

“This therefore is not only mine but Winnington Park’s priority to ensure our youngest players have the opportunity to return to rugby in a safe environment.”

He highlighted and paid tribute to the work that has gone into this week’s eagerly anticipated return to training.

“As MJ chairman I am absolutely proud of how the whole club has come together to enable this to happen,” he said.

“The MJ section is not only the heartbeat but the biggest section of the club and I have had nothing but the full support of the committee to enable this to happen.

“I work closely with Dave Allcock (director of rugby) and the MJ section is on the same platform to that of the senior section. This provides a balanced view and both sections receive equal opportunities at the club.

“We have adhered to the published RFU Covid-19 Road Map rules and in addition to this have also provided clear guidance from Winnington Park’s perspective that has been cascaded via each head coach and their support staff to all parents.

“Examples of this are to ensure the training times are staggered so that we don’t have parents turning up or leaving the club at the same time, nominating a specific car park dependant on which pitch they are training on and ensuring the rugby balls are sanitised by the coaches before and after training.

“By providing clear guidance it will minimise the risk of any spread of Covid, by providing a safe environment for both parent and player.

“Our coaches have also been creative particularly with our younger age groups, buying individual rugby balls and hula-hoops so the players have their own personal space and ensuring they keep to their two-metre distancing.

“Many age groups are completing high intensity interval training sessions and adapted rugby skills sessions, so every coach is planning their sessions meticulously to ensure they are not only fun but safe.”

He concluded: “I want to pass on my sincere thanks to the numerous volunteers at Winningto Park, in particular our head groundsman Bill Bucker who works tirelessly every day to ensure all of our pitches are in pristine condition and those that support Bill and finally to all of the coaches, admin staff, first aiders and to all parents and carers who form part of the MJ section for their continued support in making this happen.”