Tavender recognised for going ‘above and beyond to provide opportunities’

Kris Tavender consistently goes above and beyond to provide opportunities for the community of Bristol, and he has now been rewarded after being named Community Coach of the Year at Premiership Rugby’s Parliamentary Community Awards.

The Community Coach of the Year Award, supported by the All Party Parliamentary Rugby Union Group, is designed to reward a community coach who has gone beyond the call of duty to change the lives of participants through a national or local programme.

That description is embodied by Bristol Rugby Community Foundation Spectrum Project manager Kris who, in only nine months, has helped bring sport to almost 600 people with a variety of disabilities by designing, developing and delivering 16 pilot programmes.

The Spectrum Project was the first of those and has benefitted 125 people, with Kris’ tireless work ethic often seeing him exceed 50-hour weeks and having taken an unpaid year secondment to pilot the project.

And after being selected ahead as Community Coach of the Year on Tuesday ahead of two other incredibly deserving nominees – Bath Rugby Foundation outreach officer Joe Aygul and Sale Sharks Community Trust inclusion officer Vicky Irwin – he was ecstatic to collect his award at the House of Commons.

“It was truly humbling to have my name read out and almost embarrassing, but at the same time it is a great way to showcase the great people we are working with and the great programmes we are involved in,” Kris said.

“For me it is the people we work with that makes it so special. They are people on the edge and feeling like they can’t get involved in something or perhaps that their time has gone.

“It is about giving them a chance and getting them involved, empowering them and making them see just how truly special they are.”

Kris Tavender and his wife, Claire at the House of Commons.

Every year hundreds of people up and down the country give their time to help run Premiership Rugby initiatives such as – but not limited to – Aviva Tackling Numbers, HITZ, On The Front Foot, Rugby 4 All, Something To Chew On, Move Like A Pro, and Urban Rugby Squad.

From going the extra mile to help youngsters in the local area, to helping more girls and women get into the game, these ground-breaking schemes all seek to help the community reach new heights both on and off the rugby pitch.

And while Heather Taylor – an NGB Account Manager at Sport England who helped judge the award – admits the selection process was tough, she believes Kris was a more than worthy recipient.

 

“Kris has worked extremely hard to deliver the Spectrum Project and helped young people with a wide variety of needs, even quitting his own full-time job to help deliver a host of schemes."

Heather Taylor, Sport England

“Kris was a stand-out nominee and a thoroughly deserving winner of the Community Coach of the Year award,” said Taylor.

“Every coach nominated has worked tirelessly to help improve their clubs and are truly selfless individuals.

“Kris has worked extremely hard to deliver the Spectrum Project and helped young people with a wide variety of needs, even quitting his own full-time job to help deliver a host of schemes.

“He is an incredibly dedicated and hard-working individual who has helped bring joy to so many people in the area. He regularly commits more than 50 hours every week.

“His energy and passion has helped bring sport to almost 600 people with a variety of disabilities in just nine months.”

Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central and the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rugby Union, said: “Kris deserves all the praise he can get for his achievements over the past year. To hear colleagues hold him in such high regard is testament to his efforts.”

To read more about Premiership Rugby’s community programmes, please visit premiershiprugby.com/community or join the conversation #RugbyChangingLives

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