Almost £35,000 raised by Wasps and George Pragnell to benefit children with learning difficulties in Coventry & Warwickshire
Wasps’ internationals Matt Mullan and Thomas Young linked up with George Pragnell jewellers in Stratford-upon-Avon this week, to support a cheque presentation of £33,770 to Wasps’ Community Foundation.
The impressive sum was raised by the club’s supporters and players at Wasps’ End of Season Awards in May, for which George Pragnell were the elegant event partners.
The Awards Dinner is the flagship event in Wasps’ off-field calendar, where players, coaches and guests gather to celebrate stand-out performances of the season, as well as to raise funds for charity through a variety of auctions and raffles, which George Pragnell contributed prizes to.
The money raised will support the Playing Advantage Club which provides an out of school rugby and sports club for children with learning difficulties.
It will also fund Wasps Community Foundation’s on-going commitment to SEND [Special Educational Needs and Disabilities] schools across Coventry and Warwickshire.
The funding provided will allow Wasps to build on the important work already invested over the last 12 months, which has included taking children to their first ever rugby tournament in Oxfordshire over Easter.
Speaking about the significant impact the funds can have on children’s lives in the area, Wasps’ Head of Community Neal Coupland said: “It was a fabulous sum of money raised for the charity and our thanks go to George Pragnell and everyone who donated to help us reach that figure.
“It’s vital for us to continue building these funds as it means we can do so much more, particularly with this specific programme which works with a number of special educational needs schools around Coventry and Warwickshire.
“It has also enabled us to open a “Playing Advantage Club” for the first time, which is an out of school provision on a Sunday for children with learning difficulties, where they can enjoy rugby and sport in general, just as we would on a weekend.”
Managing Director, Charlie Pragnell, was delighted to have been able to help support the initiative, saying: “I think it’s very important that those of us who have been fortunate to find some success locally, contribute to that community. Wasps are a great example to all of us in the local area in the way in which they’ve done that.
“It was partly that attitude and the club’s innovative approach, led by Derek Richardson at the top, that attracted us to form a partnership by sponsoring Wasps’ End of Season Awards. As well of course as the exciting and positive style of rugby that Wasps play that always makes for an entertaining day at the Ricoh Arena.”
England international, Matt Mullan, also appreciated the support shown by sponsors and supporters alike: “Firstly a big thanks to George Pragnell for putting on such a great show at the End of the Season Awards, which was a fantastic night and certainly the most stylish Awards I’ve attended at the club.
“There was also a deeper meaning to the evening. I remember watching the video that the Community Foundation showed and you realised just how much is involved and how many people it brings enjoyment to in the wider community, particularly young people. As a player, you want to support those projects and hopefully help to contribute further in the future.”
Thomas Young, who made his debut for Wales on their summer tour, added: “It’s great to be able to help support kids with learning difficulties and to give them an opportunity to get together and enjoy sport. On a personal note, I feel it’s important to get behind programmes like this and try to back them in any way we can.”
Wasps players are gearing up for the new season start as they are being put through their paces in pre-season training. The squad came agonisingly close to being crowned Aviva Premiership Champions last season, narrowly losing by three points to Exeter Chiefs after the contest went to extra-time to determine the winner.
The Premiership finalists are back in action at the Ricoh Arena on Wednesday 23 August, 7.30pm kick off, for a pre-season friendly against Connacht before the Premiership campaign kicks-off against Sale Sharks on Saturday 2 September, at the Ricoh Arena.
Tickets are available from wasps.co.uk/tickets