One of the main reasons for the long term success of our community department is the way they operate so smoothly as a team. They have been together for over 15 years and have delivered our unique community schemes to almost half a million youngsters throughout the Region.
Mike Sage is the community manager who organises the whole department with great effect and whose enthusiasm and spirit drives the community on.
Janice Chappell brings the enthusiasm & passion for her teaching of sporting skills and sportsmanship which still impresses all the schools and clubs she deals with.
The team have been officially recognised for their ability with the Gateway scheme winning Welsh Scheme of the Year in 2002, being rewarded with a meeting with HRH Prince Charles for their work within the Princes Trust and have been presented with many tokens of thanks, which are proudly displayed in their office, from satisfied and grateful visitors to their home at Rodney Parade.
The Community Team
Mike Sage – Community manager
Mike is a qualified Secondary Physical Education teacher, a WRU Level 3 rugby coach and has vast managerial experience which helps him run the community department like a well-oiled ship. His sharp eye for detail and planning has ensured that both Newport RFC – for whom Mike plays an integral organisational role and the Dragons community department operations run as smoothly as possible.
Mike was the first development officer that was employed here at Rodney Parade in 1999 and he was made manager in 2001. He has successfully seen the department through some difficult times and leads by example to maintain their current successes and he ensures the team keeps at the cutting edge of community development.
Mike has a young family and is a keen sportsman himself who gained International/County honours at both rugby and cricket in his younger years before moving on to have a productive semi-professional rugby playing career. He has also had successful spells as both a rugby coach and team manager at the semi-pro level; hence, he has a huge amount of experience and sporting knowledge.
Janice Chappell – Community Development Officer
Janice followed Mike into the development officers’ role in 1999 and we are very proud that she was the first full time female development officer, not only in Wales but throughout Britain.
Janice was a keen rugby player who missed out on gaining full Welsh honours through a constant nagging injury that brought about a premature end to her playing career. She moved seamlessly on to become a very successful referee and her no nonsense attitude has helped her in many aspects of her working life today. Janice is a very well respected rugby coach and always gets the best out of the players.
Janice is happy to set about her business in a very quiet and efficient manner, and at the end of the academic year it is Janice’s letterbox which is crammed full of thank-you cards and letters from grateful teachers, pupils and parents.
Matthew Williams - TACKLE Project Coordinator
Matt has joined the Newport Gwent Dragons community team from the Internationally renowned University of Bath's Department of Health. Specialising in engagement hard to reach community groups with sport and physical activity, Matt has worked with elderly individuals, young children and everyone in between.
Matthew, who grew up in Newport, first played rugby aged 11 as a keen footballer making the switch to the oval ball. Having grown up playing for Whitehead Steelers junior RFC, then Risca RFC he recently helped the University of Bath’s 1st XV to their most successful league finish. Matt has also worked within both state and independent schools; as a sports tutor he has introduced a number of international students to rugby for the first time, as well as providing academic support to pupils of all ages. Matt is keen to use rugby as a vehicle to drive positive physical, social and academic change to young people right across the Dragons region.
Matt’s main role will be to coordinate the brand new ‘TACKLE’ project; a fantastic new initiative which brings together all four of the Welsh regions for the first time. The project aims to use cage-rugby to engage with 14-16 years old school pupils to enhance their academic potential and future employment prospects. The project begins in 4 schools across the region at the start of the 2016-17 season.