We are delighted to hear that Fifth Former Will Roberts has been nominated for the ‘Young Achiever’ award in the upcoming Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes Awards 2020.

Will, who has always had a passion for rugby, showed great entrepreneurial talent when he developed his ‘Young Rugby’ idea into a successful initiative.

In an extract from his nomination as quoted by Bedford Independent, “Young Rugby aims to support, inspire and advise young rugby players who are interested in pursuing a professional career in the sport by bridging the gap between grassroots players and their professional idols to help them achieve their rugby dream.”

Will started out by creating a ‘Young Rugby’ Instagram account back in August 2019, then set about gathering and sharing content from contacts he had made from his days playing at the Bedford Junior Blues as a youngster.

Will said, “The idea behind ‘Young Rugby’ is to shine a light onto the younger players and help their future careers by using social media as a platform.”

Since setting up the account, Will has attracted over 14,000 followers and shares regular posts and showreels from professional players such as OBs Fraser Dingwall (13-17) and George Furbank (13-15). In fact, Fraser has been a real ambassador of the programme and has helped Will by providing helpful and inspiring content – he even held a story ‘take over day’.

Part of Will’s initial plan was to host training days and special coaching days for the young players at the Blues ground. However, due to the pandemic, Will had to adapt his idea, instead offering resources online.

“That’s the beauty of social media, if it is used correctly”, explained Will. “You can reach so many more people, and the information I am putting out is getting more engagement that I could have imagined.”

Instagram is not the only social media platform that Will uses. He has recently expanded to TikTok and also delivers livestreams on the new voice-based social media platform, Clubhouse. Additionally, Will records regular podcasts on a Spotify account he runs with two other pupils called ‘The Sports Hub’, where they share their opinions and debate topics relating to football and rugby.

James Hinkins, Director of Rugby told us, “Will has a passion for rugby.  He knows the game better than most and has used this knowledge to help connect the young (and old) rugby community. He engages his vast number of followers in all things rugby and provides them with a platform to showcase their talents and share their experiences.  His passion and personality have helped him forge many high-profile friendships in the world of rugby, friends who are willing to tell their story to both inspire and reassure young players.”

Will told us that whilst he hopes the programme will help catapult him into a career in sports media, his main motivation is to give young players a helping hand and provide them with as many opportunities to get into sport professional sport.

“The best thing about doing this is connecting people together. I have also had some surreal moments when top-level players, who I have followed for so long have recognised me and complimented me on the work I am doing.”

“Being nominated for this award is another reality check for me, and it’s recognition such as this that makes me understand the reason why I am doing it.”

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