GB Wheelchair Rugby Appoint National Development Directors

GB Wheelchair Rugby is delighted to announce the appointment of Julie Bunnage and Paul Arnold as GBWR’s National Development Directors. Julie and Paul will share the role formerly held by Kirsty Clarke who left in March to become Stonewall’s Director of Sport. Julie has acted as interim NDD since Kirsty’s departure, whilst Paul has been the Regional Development Officer for the South East and London since 2013.
Since its creation in 2010, the NDD role has expanded considerably to meet the increased scope and scale of delivery undertaken by the NGB. Bringing together these two sports development professionals with their complimentary skills makes for a very powerful team and one that will ensure we maintain our ambitious commitment to enable more people to play more rugby and to provide our clubs and partners with high quality services.

Both Julie and Paul are well known to our sport. Julie previously led our community programme, delivering excellent national events and local projects including: the ground-breaking BT WWRC15 Community Festival, the inaugural women and girls’ wheelchair rugby ‘This Girl Can’ workshops and activation events across Rugby World Cup fan zones, creating opportunities for over 400 new participants to experience wheelchair rugby. Additionally, she was integral to initiating three sustainable youth hubs during the first year of the BT Youth Programme. She is a former Senior Relationship Manager within Sport England’s National Sport Directorate, and brings 30 years of sport development experience, delivering successful outcomes in a variety of settings ranging from sports clubs, schools, local government departments, business and charities.

Paul is a sports development graduate from Gloucester University and prior to GBWR he was the Disability Sports Development Officer for Active Gloucestershire charged with integrating disability sport into core programmes of the sports’ partnership. He also spent 6 years working for the FA as its Disability Football Development Officer. He joined GBWR in 2013 and had been demonstrably successful having developed his area from 4 established clubs to 12 – not a bad achievement in 5 years! He is also the architect of the first recognized wheelchair rugby coaching qualification and coaching pathway.

Chief Executive David Pond commented, ‘Paul and Julie are already a formidable team with an enviable blend of skills. They are passionately committed to building on GBWR’s existing delivery programme to enable more disabled people to engage in enjoyable, safe and exciting wheelchair rugby opportunities. Whilst their roles will have common elements, each will also lead on specific areas of work. I look forward to them being part of the senior management team and to learning from their experience.