Rugby in York to benefit from transformational Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 legacy programme Impact ‘25 

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  • Impact ’25 will be delivered by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in partnership with UK Government, Sport England and UK Sport. 
  • £12.13m already committed to the women’s and girls’ grassroots game across the country.   
  • Rugby World Cup 2025, a joint venture between World Rugby and the RFU, will be a spectacular celebration of women’s rugby and an era-defining tournament that will set new standards, attract new audiences and provide a catalyst to nationwide rugby growth. 
  • York Rugby Union to be one of the many clubs chosen to benefit from the Impact ‘25 programme 
  • York Community Stadium will be Rugby World Cup host venue in next year’s tournament. 
  • The legacy programme is designed to supercharge the growth of women’s and girls’ rugby throughout Yorkshire and the Humber and beyond 
  • Today also marks 500 days until the tournament kicks off at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on 22 August 2025. 

The RFU has today celebrated Impact ’25, a transformational legacy programme that has already seen £12.13m of Government funding committed to women and girls’ grassroots rugby as part of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025, with the aim of growing the game throughout the country.  

Impact ’25 will be delivered by the RFU in partnership with UK Government, Sport England and UK Sport. The programme will provide substantial improvements in facilities and greater opportunities for females at all levels of the game in England, with a range of support being offered to clubs across four key pillars: Facility Development, Coaches and Match Officials, Playing and Volunteering, and Community and Fan Engagement.  

To mark 500 days to go to the curtain-raiser of Rugby World Cup 2025, the tournament legacy programme was celebrated today by Councillor Claire Douglas, York Rugby Union Youth Section and the Rugby Football Union. 

Thanks to Impact ‘25, 25 clubs have been awarded funding to upgrade toilet facilities and 23 have been provided with sanitary packages, with 3 larger grants for clubs to develop social spaces and changing rooms, all aimed at making rugby clubs more welcoming and inclusive of female players.  50 coaches and match officials have been supported with their development in order to increase the number, quality and visibility of female coaches and match officials in rugby and 27 clubs have received grants to start up U12s activity to bring more girls who have never been involved in the sport, into rugby clubs. 

York Rugby Union (YRUFC) is one of the organisations set to benefit from the impact programme. Established in 1928, over 400 young boys and girls now play for the club, with the need for an increase in female players being outlined for the 2024/2025 season. Funding from the Impact ‘25 Programme will allow infrastructural updates to the rugby grounds and enable volunteers to attend England Rugby Union courses to ensure they have the coaching skills required to inspire the next generation of players. 

The aim of Impact ‘25 is to accelerate the growth of women’s rugby and help the RFU achieve its ambition of 100,000 female players by 2027. The women’s game in England is already flourishing from the grassroots level through to the elite; the Red Roses are currently ranked the number one team in the world, while the participation number for women and girls have risen to over 40,000 with more than 800 clubs offering women’s and girls’ rugby.  

Next year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 and its legacy programme will be a game-changer for women’s participation across the sport, shaping positive perceptions at all levels of the game and benefitting local communities. The tournament promises to be an era-defining celebration of women’s rugby with unprecedented levels of engagement throughout the country and beyond.  York Community Stadium is among eight host venues for the tournament. The World Cup kicks off in Sunderland on 22 August 2025, with the final being held at the iconic Twickenham Stadium.  The ambition is to sell-out Twickenham and break the current world record attendance of 58,498 set by the Red Roses in April 2023.   

Impact ‘25 funding began in the 2022-23 season and was awarded for four years until 2025-26. The funding is being utilised increase access to rugby for women and girls, in line with the RFU’s Every Rose action plan and the tournament’s goal to reach new audiences and inspire a generation of fans.​ All home nations will benefit from funding to help develop female coaches and match officials. 

Councillor Claire Douglas, Leader of City of York Council said: “It was great to visit York RUFC to meet some of the junior teams and see the incredible work the club is doing. Hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup next year is already having an impact with some funding being made available to improve facilities at community sports clubs and encourage new players to take up the sport. 

“York RUFC is one of a number of community sports clubs doing fantastic things across the city. In York, we are really looking forward to hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 and welcoming world-class athletes from a range of nations to our city in only 500 days time. Our hope is that this tournament inspires a new generation of players into rugby and other sports, in line with our Council Plan ambition to help people to live happier, healthier lives.” 

Bill Sweeney, CEO, RFU said: “The opportunity to grow the women’s game was a primary driver behind our bid to host Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025, and we are very grateful to Government for committing funding to this transformational programme as part of the tournament. 

“Working together with Government, UK Sport, Sport England and World Rugby we will create a legacy for women’s rugby in England and the home nations, both in terms of attracting more fans and people to play, coach, officiate, and volunteer. 

“We are already seeing huge strides forwards being made thanks to Impact ‘25 and look forward to seeing further progress over the coming months and years.” 

Stuart Andrew, Sports Minister, said: “The UK is world-leading when it comes to hosting major sporting events, with the benefits of these events starting well before they kick off, and continuing long after they end. 
“With the Women’s Rugby World Cup round the corner, this legacy programme is already impacting communities, and will continue to ensure greater opportunities for women and girls to play sport for many years to come. 
“Impact ’25 will help with our target to get 3.5 million more children and adults active by 2030 and is on top of £400 million being invested by the Government in high-quality grassroots sports facilities around the UK.” 

Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Executive Director, Place at Sport England, said: “Rugby has so much to offer women and girls – from better physical and mental health to the development of sporting skills and a sense of community and belonging that only sport can give.   

“Encouraging and enabling more women and girls to find their way into sport and physical activity is at the core of our Uniting the Movement strategy.  We support the RFU’s target of getting 100,000 women and girls playing rugby by 2027.   We have made progress towards this and the Rugby World Cup 2025 and the Impact Programme will play a key role in achieving this.  It is important we work together to maximise the impact that the World Cup will have, ensuring that more women and girls get the opportunity to participate in their communities and enjoy the benefit of great facilities and other support to realise their potential.” 

Sarah Bern, Red Roses prop said: “We’ve seen huge developments in the women’s game over the past few years and the investment from Impact ‘25 and the awareness next year’s Rugby World Cup will bring to rugby is only going to help drive that growth even further. I am so excited to see the impact that next year’s tournament will have on growing the sport that I love so much.” 

Amber Reed, Red Roses centre added: “It’s so great to see the ever-growing number of opportunities to get involved in rugby whether that be through playing, being a match official, as a coach or in a volunteer role. Rugby has given me so much and I’m so excited to see other women and girls have their lives positively changed by our sport thanks to Impact ’25 – I’d strongly encourage anyone who’s interested to get involved in the sport.” 

Sarah Massey, Managing Director, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025, said: “The Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 will be a generational moment for rugby that will inspire the next generation of players and welcome new fans to the sport. 

“Impact ’25 provides an unprecedented opportunity to grow the game, benefitting local communities across the nation by creating more opportunities for women and girls to get involved in playing, officiating and coaching. 

“This significant investment will be crucial for our host cities and local stakeholders, who are committed to developing women’s rugby in their communities and providing an inclusive environment for everyone involved in the game.” 


Notes to Editor 

Photo credit to Make It York 

Cllr Claire Douglas and players from York Rugby Union Youth Section. Left to right: Ella Briggs, Tilly Goforth, Isabella Hill, Ieuan Murray-Cook, Bea Steel, Emelia Wood, Amelia Turnbull, Hettie Rigby and Henry Steel. 

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