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Tom returns to engage local youngsters in core values of Rugby

A star of the London 2012 Olympics in Coventry and Warwickshire has returned to the region to head up a major new rugby initiative.

Tom Clift, who headed up Coventry and Warwickshire’s Olympic programme and played a leading part in bringing the games to the region, has been appointed programme manager of the Engage! project.

Engage!, run by Coventry Sports Foundation, is a programme designed to use the core values of rugby to provide social and educational benefits as a way of developing healthy, well-rounded, confident young people, who have greater access to opportunities and a real sense of belonging within their local communities.

Engage! will also aim to bring rugby coaching to every child in the city. The initiative has been made possible through the financial support of the Millerchip Family Fund.

Clift joins Coventry Sports Foundation after two years within the sports, leisure and hospitality sector at Compass Group UK & Ireland. He said:

Engage! provides a fantastic opportunity to use the core values of rugby – teamwork, respect, integrity, discipline and enjoyment – to build a better city through sport. Engage! will also celebrate our rich rugby heritage whilst also transforming people’s lives through the core values at school, at home or in their communities.

We will work alongside partner agencies to address some of the known social, health and educational challenges that impact the wellbeing and prospects of our children and young people, particularly those in more disadvantaged areas of Coventry, whilst at the same time growing the rugby community and using it to promote social inclusion.

I have followed its formation closely and am relishing the chance to build it from the ground up into something which I believe can be very powerful and stretch well beyond this region and into other sports.

Being so closely involved in 2012 in Coventry and Warwickshire underlined just what can be achieved when people work together using sport to bring collective good to the area.

We were one of the most successful regions in terms of the benefits derived from London 2012 and I believe that Engage! can be a similarly powerful tool that can really benefit young people and local communities.

Clift, who is a graduate of Coventry University, worked on the area’s Olympic involvement for more than six years in the lead up to the 2012 Games. His achievements include the successful hosting of Olympic football at the Ricoh Arena, more than 130 local companies winning 2012 contracts, over 40,000 people coming out to support the Olympic Torch Relay and around 8,000 school children taking part in sport through a Festival of Sport programme.

Paul Breed, CEO of the Coventry Sports Foundation, said:

Tom made a major mark on Coventry and Warwickshire through his work on London 2012 and that experience will serve Engage! extremely well.

We are really pleased that he is returning to the city and believe that he is ideally suited to develop Engage! into a very powerful project which can bring very tangible benefits on several levels in support of Coventry’s longer term strategy for sport.