Currently, all IRFU (Ulster Branch) fundraising efforts are focused on two charities – Extern and the IRFU Charitable Trust.
A serious rugby injury is a frightening prospect for any player. In 1978, the IRFU recognised the need to help seriously injured players and so established the Charitable Trust to assist injured players in their daily lives and help to restore their confidence.
There are currently 30 seriously injured players, all of whom receive help from the Trust and through its very active committee, the Trust maintains regular contact with each injured player and their families.
They help with locomotory expenses, specialised commitment, home alterations, medical expenses, nursing and care costs and over the past number of years the average payment for assistance has amounted to about EUR 220,000 per annum.
The IRFU monitors the Trust’s activities through five trustees who ensure that the Trust is administered properly and that all monies raised are distributed in an equitable manner. The day to day affairs of the Trust are managed by a committee appointed by the trustees, Ulster representatives include John Callaghan and Trevor Ringland.
Extern is the leading social justice charity on the island of Ireland, speaking up for and supporting more than 19,500 children, young people, individuals and families each year.
The charity supports those living with the impact of suicide and those dealing with mental health and drug and alcohol issues, to change their lives. Extern also supports people who are homeless or facing homelessness, refugees, people living with an offending past and the Traveller community.
Throughout the partnership, Ulster Rugby and Extern will work together to promote positive mental health and wellbeing with a range of joint initiatives, while some fundraising activities are also planned.
Commenting on the partnership, Ulster Rugby CEO Jonny Petrie commented: “We are thrilled to be working with Extern as our official charity partner. Both organisations are hugely ambitious and we are incredibly excited about our joint plans.
“Northern Ireland has an alarmingly high rate of mental ill-health and I think that Ulster Rugby, in conjunction with Extern, can make a difference. I hope that this partnership will bring mental health issues to the forefront of the public’s mind, provide support to those who need it, and generate funds for the vital work that Extern undertakes.
“I would encourage the Ulster Rugby community to get behind our initiatives and help us to make it a success.”
Extern’s CEO, Charlie Mack, added: “Every day in Extern, our staff see the detrimental impact mental illness has on the lives of young people, families and individuals.
“We are absolutely delighted therefore to have been chosen by Ulster Rugby as its charity partner. By joining forces to tackle mental health together, we hope this exciting partnership will create lasting change and, ultimately, save lives.
“Extern offers a range of world class projects to help people overcome poor mental health and wellbeing. This partnership with Ulster Rugby will help Extern reach even more people in need of support and encourage more people to seek help.”
Ulster Rugby’s Charity Committee aims to support two additional charity projects each month.
The decision on these projects is made by an internal committee at the end of each month. We feel that this is a positive way for Ulster Rugby to help a further 20 plus charities outside of our Official Charity Partners each season. For a fundraising event to be considered, it must comply with the following guidelines: