One of the main reasons for the long-term success of our Community Department is the way they operate so smoothly as a team and by building quality working relationships with partners and key community agencies.
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 and passion for her teaching of sporting skills and sportsmanship which still impresses all the schools and clubs she deals with.
Gareth Sullivan leads on Inclusion Rugby under the ‘Jersey For All’ banner to make rugby accessible and the Dragons Inclusive to all.
Karen Burgess joins our Community team to deliver and grow Inclusion provisions to breakdown any barriers to participation.
Kieron Porter works as a Community Equality Officer, with the primary purpose of helping to educate and support our region in tackling racism and any form of discrimination in rugby.
Tygan Pinch has become our Community Officer to deliver our ever-growing Gateway Rugby project to inspire our youngsters.
Mike and Janice have become a key ingredient of the Community success at the region with over 20 years’ experience and have delivered our unique community schemes to over half a million youngsters throughout the region.
Gareth has made a great initial impact in the Inclusion Rugby space and aims to develop new opportunities to inspire more people to enjoy rugby through his alternative provisions, with this work superbly supported by Karen.
Kieron joined the team in the summer of 2021 as Dragons outlined its work to celebrate equality, diversity, respect and inclusion. We place huge importance on tolerance and equal opportunities for all.
The team have been officially recognised for their work with the Gateway scheme, they have been 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.
Most recently the department were proud to be shortlisted in the 'Contribution in the Community' category at the South Wales Argus Business Awards.
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.
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 evolution of the department using his sharp eye for detail and planning.
Mike 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.
Gareth Sullivan – Head of Inclusion
Gareth is a welcomed addition to the Community Team due to our expansion of Inclusion Rugby within our Region.
Gareth supports all regional community activation with his main focus on developing and expanding the ‘Inclusion Rugby’ space and footprint around the region. He is a great addition and a valuable asset to the team & region with his passion, dedication and knowledge and will no doubt show these qualities on his Inclusion journey.
He has vast playing & coaching experience at various levels and still enjoys getting his boots dirty on the playing field. He is currently a WRU Level Two Qualified Rugby Coach, working towards Level Three and his coaching ability has enabled him to apply his skills & knowledge at District, County & Wales Exiles Level.
Gareth has well & truly served his coaching apprenticeship having volunteered for 10 years in various roles within community, mini, junior and senior rugby.
His commitment is first class and will ignite the ‘World of Inclusive Rugby’ within the Dragons Region.
Karen Burgess - Community Inclusion Officer
Karen joins our Community Team as our Inclusion Officer and comes with a wealth of experience in the leisure industry.
Karen adds real value to the team, especially with her knowledge and passion in the Inclusion, Mental Health and Early Intervention space.
She is making a positive impact and impression on participants across many of our provisions and is looking forward to taking our Inclusion work to another level. Watch this space.
Kieron Porter - Community Equality Officer
Our commitment in promoting Inclusion and equality in Rugby has been enriched by the appointment of our Community Equality Officer, Kieron Porter, who will focus on delivering our important message to eliminate discrimination and provide education around fairness and equal opportunities.
Our ‘Rugby for All’ philosophy is always high on our agenda and Kieron joined us with vast experience in the Equality field and adds real value to our team and the wider community.
Kieron will be key in strongly promoting that rugby environments are geared towards making all people feel welcomed and valued.
Tygan Pinch – Community Officer
We are delighted to introduce and welcome Tygan Pinch to our Dragons Family, as the newest member of our growing Community team.
Tygan joins us at this exciting time at Dragons Rugby to deliver inspiration through our ever-expanding Tony Brown Gateway Rugby project, which motivates primary school pupils throughout our catchment area using rugby as the catalyst to promote health and wellbeing. Her role will also encompass supporting our match day community experience, delivering our holiday skills camps, and adding value to our inclusion and outreach work.
She has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the rugby industry from having international honours, representing the Dragons Women’s rugby team, completing the Welsh Rugby Union Apprenticeship and many volunteer hours within our communities. Tygan was highly recommended by the WRU Apprenticeship team and we have witnessed her qualities first-hand during her volunteering work, where she has already made a positive impact and is looking forward to building on this early success.
Tygan brings youthful enthusiasm and experience to our department and is already inspiring the next generation.
Melin Homes Community Ambassadors
We have a very loyal band of Melin Homes Community Ambassadors who support our community activation, especially around our Inclusion & match day provisions.
We very much value the volunteering support, which allows us to maximise delivery and positive impact.
If you're interested in becoming a Melin Homes Community Ambassador, contact: Community Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org.