AN OPENLY gay rugby player from Musselburgh has been appointed as a 2022 Young Ambassador in a drive to develop the next generation of grassroots rugby leadership.

Colin Arthur, 32, of Musselburgh Rugby Football Club, has been named one of 15 winners of the programme by Royal Bank RugbyForce, which will see him continue to encourage people within the LGBTQ+ community to come and be part of the club.

The Young Ambassador squad, a group of grassroots heroes aged 18 to 35 from amateur clubs across Scotland, deliver projects that help their club to create stronger connections with their local communities, build a legacy and make positive social change.

Colin’s winning application stood out amongst competition from across the country and he will also be looking to strengthen ties within the local community by providing support for local projects through club volunteers.

Colin, who usually plays tighthead prop for the 1st XV and is joint vice-captain for this coming season, said: “Since joining Musselburgh, I have finally felt at home within a rugby club.

“As an openly gay player playing in the Premiership, I feel like I have a very unique perspective and being appointed as a Royal Bank RugbyForce Young Ambassador will help me to promote and enhance inclusion within Scottish rugby for anyone and everyone who wants to be part of this game.”

Colin grew up near Biggar and attended Biggar High School, where he first started playing rugby at the age of 12. Since then, he has played at Melrose, Preston Lodge and Kelso before moving to Musselburgh in 2017.

He and his partner have just bought their first house together in Musselburgh last September but he has stayed in the town for a few years.

East Lothian Courier: Colin Arthur of Musselburgh RFC has been appointed a 2022 Young AmbassadorColin Arthur of Musselburgh RFC has been appointed a 2022 Young Ambassador

Judith Cruickshank, managing director, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “After the success of the Young Ambassador programme in its inaugural year, it was always clear that we would bring it back for the new season.

“Our latest group of Young Ambassadors are delivering some vital work, strengthening the relationships between grassroots rugby clubs and their communities.

“Colin is a credit to his club.

“We are looking forward to supporting his efforts to introduce more people from the LGBTQ+ community to rugby.

“Ensuring that our community club leaders are well equipped with the tools and skills to pass on through the generations is of the utmost importance when it comes to strengthening the sustainability of grassroots rugby in Scotland. Well done, Colin!”

Each winning candidate will receive specialist training and close mentoring to develop the key skills needed for effective club management, including seminars and events led by Scotland international players, delivered in partnership with Scottish Rugby.

To continue to improve diversity and help clubs become more sustainable for the future, the programme will also be providing the ‘Young Ambassadors’ with a £500 grant that will contribute towards successfully delivering their project of choice.

Winners were selected from across all five Scottish regions, based on how they would best spend the grant, as well as the community work that they are currently doing.

They will now have the chance to come together and discuss their experiences in the game, share knowledge, and get to know each other ahead of RugbyForce Weekend next month, a key moment in the Scottish grassroots calendar which traditionally sees clubs open their doors to the community, hosting fun days and attracting new members into the club.

Delivered in partnership between Scottish Rugby and Royal Bank of Scotland, the Young Ambassador project is the latest extension to the RugbyForce programme, which provides funding to Scotland’s grassroots clubs, recognising that many are facing unprecedented financial pressures. Since 2009, the RugbyForce programme has distributed more than half a million pounds, directly benefiting more than three-quarters of amateur rugby clubs in Scotland.