March 2023


Rugby ready to grab it and run...

"This is a very special year for Rugby with so much going on around the bicentenary and the town's illustrious history coming together alongside the exciting growth plans of today."

Businesses in Rugby have been urged to take inspiration from William Webb Ellis by ‘grabbing the ball and running with it’ in the 200th anniversary of the sport.

Around 80 tourism, hospitality, leisure and retail businesses from across the town and borough attended the Rugby Means Business event at the Benn Hall.

The event was organised by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce through Warwickshire County Council’s Project Warwickshire programme in conjunction with Rugby Borough Council and Shakespeare’s England. Project Warwickshire is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, forming part of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale Programme. It is also funded by Warwickshire County Council. 

The attendees heard from Keely Hancox and Russell Grant, from the Chamber, on the support available for businesses in the borough – from start-ups through to firms looking to access help to grow.

Delegates were then given an insight into major redevelopment plans for the town centre by Rugby Borough Council’s chief officer for growth and investment, Nicola Smith.

Nicola explained how there are 27 development projects in the pipeline with six ‘catalyst’ projects to help move the regeneration programme forward, including Rugby Market, Rounds Garden and Rugby Central.

There was also an update on some of the events coming to Rugby in the coming months – from rugby bicentenary celebrations through to the King’s Coronation.

Vicky Henderson, Rugby School’s 2023 Celebrations events manager, told businesses that they could benefit from the exciting events taking place at the school to celebrate the anniversary.

She said: “Over the coming weeks, we are holding rugby festivals and tournaments with hundreds of young people and their families coming to Rugby. While the matches will be taking place at the school, those families will be looking for other places to visit and places to eat and drink in the evening.

“We are more than happy to promote businesses in the town if they get in touch with us. They need to take inspiration from William Webb Ellis and pick up this ball and run with it as it’s such as good opportunity for the whole town.”

Plans for the Festival on The Close at Rugby School, which will take place from June 25 to June 29, including comedy, music and theatre, were also revealed to the audience.

Keely Hancox said: “We were absolutely thrilled to bring so many businesses together and everyone left feeling excited and inspired by some of the events, opportunities and developments coming to Rugby.

“It was also a great opportunity for businesses to hear about the support we can offer at the Chamber and we’d urge them to get in touch so we can help them with their plans for growth over the coming years.

“We also brought together a whole range of partners who are all working together to help the economy of Rugby thrive.”

Warwickshire County Council Contract and Project Monitoring Officer Hayley Lineker said: "It was great to see the Rugby Means Business meeting so well attended with so much positivity and energy in the room. This is a very special year for Rugby with so much going on around the bicentenary and the town's illustrious history coming together alongside the exciting growth plans of today.

"Warwickshire County Council will continue to offer all the support we can to Rugby, and all our other towns, through Project Warwickshire and our range of other schemes."

Helen Peters, Chief Executive at Shakespeare’s England, added: “The bicentenary events are a great showcase of what Rugby has to offer and businesses were given a real insight about what is to come, how they can get involved and where they can go for help.”

For more information on how Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber and Project Warwickshire can support your business, and capitalise on activities and events across Rugby and throughout the county please contact


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