East of England Co-op unveils sponsored kit for inclusive Colchester Rugby Club

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The East of England Co-op has revealed a new sponsored kit in partnership with LGBTQ+ inclusive rugby team Colchester Kings Rugby Club.

The new kit forms part of the East of England Co-op’s longstanding sponsorship of the club and officially debuted at the International Gay Rugby’s ‘Bingham Cup’ in Rome in May 2024.

The East of England Co-op’s sponsorship enables the team to continue training at modern and fully equipped facilities, and provide part-funded or bursary memberships for players and supporters in need.

Colchester Kings Rugby Club is East Anglia’s first LGBTQ+ and inclusive rugby team. They provide opportunities for anyone, regardless of experience, age, size or sexuality, to take part in team sports and enjoy the sense of belonging and achievement that it brings.

The announcement follows a brilliant victory at the Bingham Cup where the Kings took home the winner's trophy for the ‘Challenger’ tier after beating US contenders Phoenix Storm 10 – 7.

Colchester Kings Founder and Chairperson Samuel Biscoe said: “We are so thrilled to have the East of England’s Co-op’s support for the upcoming season. It means that we can continue to provide access to grassroots sports to LGBTQ+ people in the region and expand what we can offer to our players.”

“The East of England Co-op’s direct input means that we will be able to make a deeper impact in our community alongside organisations like The Outhouse and Colchester Pride.”

The club is also running Summer taster sessions, open for beginners to give rugby a first try. There are four, hour-long sessions starting Sunday 30 June.

Charlie Garnish, one of the club’s new players said: “I’m relatively new to the Kings but this incredible team has helped me break down so many of my own walls both physically and mentally, and I have achieved things in and out of the game that I never thought I would be able to six months ago.

“I am so incredibly proud to be part of something that stretches beyond inclusivity, something that means something to every single person.”

Alongside the sponsorship of Colchester Kings, this year, the East of England Co-op is sponsoring both Norwich Pride and Colchester Pride. Thousands will gather to celebrate on 27 July and 17 August respectively.

The East of England Co-op’s Chief Operating Officer, Andy Rigby, said: “Supporting and giving back to communities of all backgrounds has always been a crucial part of our history. We’re incredibly pleased to be cementing our proud partnership with Colchester Kings Rugby Club by featuring on their new kit as club sponsor and helping provide access to state-of-the-art facilities and bursary memberships for players and supporters in need. We already have a legacy of supporting the club through our Community Cares Fund, so we’re excited to keep this important relationship thriving.

“The club provides an important safe space for the LGBTQ+ community to access social and exercise spaces, often for the first time. As the Summer season approaches, we wish them all the best for the matches ahead and look forward to them continuing their vital work to create inclusivity in the sport.”

The East of England Co-op is the largest independent retailer in East Anglia with over 200 Food stores, Travel branches and local Funeral Service branches across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

For more information about our community support click here >>