To coincide with the seventh year anniversary of Ryder in Hong Kong, Richard Dorkin reflects on the last seven years and what the future could hold.
The USRC Tigers RFC (the Tigers) is a Premier Rugby club in Hong Kong with 900 playing members, both men and women, ranging from minis to seniors. Ryder became a major sponsor and gold tier member of the Tigers ahead of the 2017 / 18 season as part of our giving back programme.
Since joining Ryder on a permanent basis in 2020, I have had the pleasure of working closely with the USRC Tigers RFC. At what has been a very difficult time for all, particularly the event based industry, it has been great to continue to support the Tigers and in some places further our relationship. The presence and work of the Tigers in the local community is second to none and strongly aligns with the work we do at Ryder in engaging and providing opportunities for the wider community. We are proud to support them in their community initiatives and outreach work.
The value of our support to the club and the wider Hong Kong community has been made extremely evident, and it is great to be actively partaking in their community engagement and supporting the local area. However, the value of the relationship is certainly mutual and we are proud to be associated with such a well respected organisation. Directly, our support allows membership fees for the club to remain low, ensuring all facets of the local community are able to join the club and partake in the brilliant sport of rugby. In some cases, this support has been directed to underprivileged children within Hong Kong, allowing them the opportunity to join the club by waving membership and kit fees.
The position and role of the Tigers within their community is made most evident by TigerFest. TigerFest is one of the largest mini rugby festivals in the world and the biggest event in the Tigers’ mini section calendar. In 2019, it attracted over 8,000 participants and the Ryder face painting booth proved very popular! Even though large events, such as TigerFest, have been unable to occur over the last 18 months, the Tigers have continued their engagement with the local community through alternative events. Recently they hosted the USRC Tigers Ryder Architecture U19 Boys VII’s competition, for which we were proud to be title sponsors. We were also very happy to participate in the Tigers beach clean up day at Lanatu Island, which in conjunction with Plastic Free Seas was used to implement positive social change and play a small role in helping the issue of plastic pollution in Hong Kong – 165kg of rubbish, 204 plastic bottles and 32 face masks were collected!
The Tigers had their 2020-21 season curtailed due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with both their Premiership sides in strong positions – the women’s were unbeaten and later crowned Premiership champions, with the men’s side sitting third. Despite the disturbances of the season, we have continued to show our support to the Tigers due to the brilliant community work they have continued to do in such difficult circumstances – with 700 members signing up.
Our fruitful and effective relationship is outlined by Brendan Ireland, general manager at the Tigers, who states, “Ryder’s support and partnership is integral to the Tigers. This enables us to run our coaching programmes for more than 900 playing members from minis, youth and senior teams. Additionally, this facilitates the Tigers to give opportunities to children from underprivileged backgrounds to join the club and community, by providing aid with membership fees.”
“We would love to grow our relationship further and for Ryder to become even more connected with the programmes we run in our community. With Ryder’s support, financially and otherwise, we believe that we will be able to continually improve not only our club’s education of rugby and values but engage, and have an all inclusive community. We have huge plans to grow our club and Ryder are the perfect partner to help us achieve our goals.”
The views of Brendan are reiterated by those of Richard Dorkin, partner at Ryder, “As part of our international aspiration to positively contribute to the communities in which we work. We identified that we needed to not just provide client focussed solutions but also invest in our local community. Our initial reason for sponsoring and supporting the USRC Tigers RFC was their outreach programme to disadvantaged children and bringing them to sport, to help develop their interpersonal skills, wellbeing and obviously rugby skills. With rugby being a particularly team focussed sport, aligning with how the Ryder team works, this seemed to be the perfect fit.”
“The TigerFest in 2019 was a great day and it was great to see first hand the work the club does. This year has been tough for all sports players and lovers, and it has been great to see that where possible Tigers have continued to reach out to the community and provide reasons for participation, celebration and fun. This was evidenced in the recent Under 19 Boys VII’s tournament, which although closed to spectators brought together a number of rival clubs to compete for the respective cups. We continue to support the club and hope that others will continue and follow too as the world evolves into the new normal.”
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