Impact '25 programme officially launches with 500 days to go to Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025

With 500 days to go until Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 kicks off at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, World Rugby and the RFU today celebrated Impact ’25, a transformational domestic legacy programme creating more opportunities for women and girls to get involved in rugby in England and the home unions.
  • 500 days to go until the tournament kicks off at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on 22 August, 2025.
  • Women’s Rugby World Cup England 2025 will be the greatest yet, a generational moment, supercharging the advancement of women’s rugby and the growth of the sport as a whole.
  • Impact 25', delivered by the RFU, is designed to supercharge the growth of women’s and girls’ rugby throughout England and the home nations with a number of Women’s RWC 2025 host cities joining in the celebrations.
  • £12.13 million already committed to the programme by DCMS to help create more opportunities for women and girls to get involved in rugby.
  • Global Impact programme set to officially launch later this year.

Impact ’25 will be delivered by the RFU in partnership with the UK Government, Sport England and UK Sport. The programme will provide substantial improvements in facilities and greater opportunities for females at all levels of the game in England, with a range of support being offered to clubs across four key pillars: Facility development, coaches and match officials, playing and volunteering, and community and fan engagement.

The launch of World Rugby’s Global Impact Programme will take place later this year, with the aim to ignite meaningful change in communities and in the lives of women and girls worldwide.

To date, more than £3 million has been invested in 655 clubs in England with over 1,200 coaches and match officials supported with their development in order to increase the number, quality and visibility of female coaches and match officials in rugby. Some 342 clubs have received funding to upgrade toilet facilities and 331 have been provided with sanitary packages, with 40 larger grants for clubs to develop social spaces and changing rooms, all aimed at making rugby clubs more welcoming and inclusive of female players. In addition, 348 clubs have received grants to start up U12 activity to bring more girls who have never been involved in the sport into rugby clubs.

Host cities mark Impact '25 celebrations with events across the nation

The domestic legacy programme was celebrated at North Bristol RFC, with stakeholders from across rugby and women’s sport in attendance. England and Bristol Bears’ players Amber Reed and Sarah Bern, Rugby World Cup winner and TV presenter, Maggie Alphonsi, and former Lioness Fara Williams joined community players and representatives from the RFU, Sport England and the Women’s RWC 2025 Local Operating Company with U12, U14, U16 girls’ sessions as well as a ‘Take up the whistle’ refereeing activity taking place to celebrate the programme.

The host cities joined in today’s celebrations across the length and breadth of England, with Brighton, Exeter, Manchester and Northampton all hosting events to mark the occasion with rugby players and coaches from clubs within their local communities in attendance.

Game-changer for women’s participation in England

The aim of the domestic strand of Impact ‘25 is to accelerate the growth of women’s rugby and help the RFU achieve its ambition of 100,000 female players by 2027. The women’s game in England is already flourishing from the grassroots level through to the elite with the Red Roses are currently number one in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini, while the participation number for women and girls have risen to more than 40,000 with over 800 clubs offering women’s and girls’ rugby.

Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 and its legacy programme will be a game-changer for women’s participation across the sport, shaping positive perceptions at all levels of the game and benefiting local communities. The tournament promises to be an era-defining celebration of women’s rugby with unprecedented levels of engagement throughout the country and beyond.

The tournament kicks off in Sunderland on 22 August, 2025, with the final being held at the iconic Twickenham Stadium. The ambition is to sell-out Twickenham and break the current world record attendance for a standalone women’s international test match of 58,498 set by the Red Roses against France in April 2023.

Impact ‘25 funding began in the 2022-23 season and was awarded for four years until 2025-26. The funding is being utilised to increase access to rugby for women and girls and the tournament’s goal to reach new audiences and inspire a generation of fans.​ All home nations will benefit from funding to help develop female coaches and match officials.

Speaking in Bristol, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 Managing Director, Sarah Massey said: “Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 will be a generational moment for rugby that will inspire the next generation of players and welcome new fans to the sport.

“Impact ’25 provides an unprecedented opportunity to grow the game, benefitting local communities across the nation by creating more opportunities for women and girls to get involved in playing, officiating and coaching.

“This significant investment will be crucial for our host cities and local stakeholders, who are committed to developing women’s rugby in their communities and providing an inclusive environment for everyone involved in the game.”

RFU CEO, Bill Sweeney, who was also in attendance in Bristol, , added: “The opportunity to grow the women’s game was a primary driver behind our bid to host Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025, and we are very grateful to Government for committing funding to this transformational programme as part of the tournament.

“Working together with Government, UK Sport, Sport England and World Rugby we will create a legacy for women’s rugby in England and the home nations, both in terms of attracting more fans and people to play, coach, officiate and volunteer.

“We are already seeing huge strides forwards being made thanks to Impact ‘25 and look forward to seeing further progress over the coming months and years.”

UK Sports Minister, Stuart Andrew said: “The UK is world-leading when it comes to hosting major sporting events, with the benefits of these events starting well before they kick-off, and continuing long after they end.
“With Women's Rugby World Cup round the corner, this legacy programme is already impacting communities, and will continue to ensure greater opportunities for women and girls to play sport for many years to come.
“Impact '25 will help with our target to get 3.5 million more children and adults active by 2030 and is on top of £400 million being invested by the Government in high-quality grassroots sports facilities around the UK."

Red Roses centre Amber Reed added: “It’s so great to see the ever-growing number of opportunities to get involved in rugby, whether that be through playing, being a match official, as a coach or in a volunteer role. Rugby has given me so much and I’m so excited to see other women and girls have their lives positively changed by our sport thanks to Impact ’25. I’d strongly encourage anyone who’s interested to get involved in the sport.”

To be the first to hear all the latest Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 updates, fans can register here.

Last updated: Apr 11, 2024, 11:46:30 AM
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