England Touch investing in growing the game
England Touch has achieved another milestone as an organisation with the appointment of Sammie Phillips as its first paid Development Officer.
Sammie is one of the most familiar faces within the England Touch community and has a very strong track record of developing the sport at all levels.
She has helped to drive the growth of Thames Valley Vikings into one of the country’s largest Touch clubs, as well as the establishment of a second club in Maidenhead which has also gone from strength-to-strength over the past few years.
Sammie has also worked closely with the Berkshire RFU to establish a Touch programme and competitions within schools in the Thames Valley.
An international player in her own right, she has represented England at multiple European Touch Championships and World Cups, winning a Bronze medal with the Women’s 27s team in Malaysia at the 2019 World Cup and a Gold medal at the 2018 Euros.
She is currently Head of Elite Performance, a role which she will retain on its current voluntary basis. Sammie will also be continuing her part-time position with In2Touch, where she helps organise the thriving Thames Valley leagues.
Chief Executive Chris Simon has no doubt that Sammie will be a success in the newly-created role of Development Officer.
“Out of a strong group of candidates Sammie’s skills and expertise stood out and I have every confidence that she will be a brilliant Development Officer,” he says.
“She has hands-on experience developing Touch at all levels and a strong understanding of how both the organised and social levels can feed into each other to expand the sport overall.
“The role of Development Officer is taking on added importance as we head into 2021. It will be a big year for us to focus on growing participation, with us hosting a European Championships, as well as a Rugby League World Cup being held in England.
“Touch is growing across the country and Sammie will be working closely with Tom Hewson-Haworth [Head of Participation] and our regional leads to ensure the relevant frameworks are in place to support our ambitious plans for next year and beyond.”
Sammie is looking forward to taking up her new role, which she will do on November 1st.
“Both England Touch as an organisation and the sport of Touch in England have gone from strength-to-strength over the past few years and I’m excited to be getting more involved as Development Officer,” she says.
“Our clubs have been doing superb work across the country, built on the commitment of hundreds of volunteers, and we have really strong foundations. Another focus will be developing the framework of how England Touch can better engage with smaller local social leagues and teams, support our growth within universities and schools, and make Touch a sport of choice within workplaces.
“It is a massive job, but there is a huge amount of potential and I can’t wait to get stuck in!”
As with all National Governing Bodies of Sport, England Touch is adapting to the ever-evolving Covid environment, working to grow participation throughout the country.