Rugby Borough Council

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People 1st worked with Rugby Borough Council to train volunteers in customer service for the Enjoy Rugby festival, part of the town’s Rugby World Cup 2015 celebrations. The resulting events delivered a 200% return on investment and the volunteers are still having a positive impact on the town today.

The issue

As the birthplace of the game, the Warwickshire town of Rugby had a unique opportunity to raise its profile and attract new visitors when England hosted the Rugby World Cup in Autumn 2015. To capitalise on this, the local borough council planned a two-month events programme - the Enjoy Rugby festival – covering art, culture and entertainment, alongside match-screenings for rugby supporters.

The town had recruited approximately 100 volunteers in preparation for the events programme, but many of them had little prior knowledge of the town’s offer or the activities they’d be promoting. The council wanted to ensure that they were prepared to welcome and assist visitors and needed a training programme that could do this quickly.

The solution - WorldHost

Rugby Borough Council knew of our expertise and previous experience training thousands of local ambassadors for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, as well as the strong reputation of our WorldHost programmes in encouraging excellent customer service, and contacted us for support.

We worked with the council to design a bespoke version of our WorldHost Ambassador Workshop programme, tailored specifically to give volunteers the local knowledge, skills and confidence they needed to undertake their roles.  We then delivered a number of workshops to make sure all the volunteers were trained in time for the start of the festival.

The project’s timescales were challenging, commencing just a few months before the World Cup, so we took the initiative in designing the content of the programme, minimising the work the council needed to do during this demanding time.

The impact

The Enjoy Rugby festival was a resounding success, contributing at least three pounds to the economy for every pound spent – a return on investment of 200%.

The volunteers played a key role in this, welcoming more than 40,000 people from around the world, and the event’s positive economic impact was recognised through special awards at both the Coventry and Warwickshire Tourism and Culture Awards and the Pride of Rugby Awards.

It also had a positive impact on the volunteers themselves, with 96% reporting that they gained knowledge and experience on the back of the training and events.

Many of them are still volunteering and putting their WorldHost training into practice, with a number supporting the recent opening of the new ‘World Rugby Hall of Fame’, which was created following interest generated during the World Cup. Others are spending their free time offering tours of the town centre to visitors.

Rugby Borough Council

What the client says:

“People 1st did a wonderful job preparing our volunteers to welcome visitors at our Enjoy Rugby festival, which was key to making sure the town benefitted from the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Training a large number of volunteers in a short space of time was no mean feat, but People 1st’s ‘can do’ attitude was invaluable and really saved us time during a very busy period.

“The training was energetic, informative and engaging, and delivered exactly what we needed. Visitor welcome is now increasingly being recognised as a strong element of Rugby’s economy, with the volunteers’ work carried out during the World Cup providing a lasting legacy. We’d be more than happy to work with People 1st again!”

Michael Beirne, Economic Investment Officer, Rugby Borough Council

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