The RFU Injured Players Foundation (IPF), England Rugby’s Official Charity, is today 10th July 2024, pleased to announce the appointment of Ucheora Obi-Wheeler and Antonia Bennett as two new Trustees to its Board.

The IPF supports players at all levels of the game from grassroots to professional, who have sustained life-changing injuries such as a catastrophic spinal cord or acute, severe traumatic brain injury whilst playing rugby union in England.

Both Ucheora and Antonia bring with them a wealth of experience in internal and external communications, optimising customer experience and developing high profile brands. They have been appointed to strengthen the charity’s knowledge in this area as it embarks on a long-term campaign to raise its profile amongst core audiences, including the rugby community, charity sector, statutory providers and research sector, as well as its beneficiaries.

Antonia is a CX (Customer Experience) professional and strategic brand marketer in financial services. With over 20 years’ experience in financial marketing across consumer and B2B (Business to Business) brands, delivering measurable and memorable brand strategies and campaigns, she is perfectly placed to support the IPF as they take this latest step in their strategy.

She is also a rugby fan and has experience in the grassroots and professional aspects of the game having been involved with both Lymm RFC and Saracens.

On her appointment Antonia commented: “I am delighted to join the IPF as a Trustee and am really looking forward to bringing my relevant experiences and diversity of thought to the role to help deepen knowledge of the IPF as a charity and shape the campaign to drive greater awareness of the incredible work that it does across the rugby landscape.

“The IPF is an amazing charity of which our family has had personal experience. The support they gave to my ex-husband, me and our family, immediately after his injury and then more long-term, was invaluable in how we were able to move forward and find a focus for our need to do something positive. Being part of the rugby community during that time was phenomenal – everybody was so supportive and so it’s now great to be able to give something back and contribute to the IPF’s future, especially with 2 sons who love the game.”

Ucheora is an award-winning strategic brand and marketing leader with experience across a variety of sectors including finance, education, research and sports apparel. In all her roles, Ucheora has used deep insight and marketing expertise to transform businesses, and make tangible, long-lasting changes that improve the customer and employee experience. She is an expert in driving deep and valued connections between brands and their consumers and is an exceptional people leader. She is also known for her authenticity, warmth, openness, and ability to connect the dots. These are all attributes and experience that she is looking forward to bringing into the IPF. As a firm believer of the power of telling engaging ‘human’ stories to drive change, she is especially excited to be joining the IPF to help amplify the wonderful work that the charity does.

Outside of work Ucheora has played rugby across both codes for almost 20 years and in 2022 was elected to lead the Rugby United advisory group, an RFU initiative designed to widen rugby participation amongst those from under-represented backgrounds.

Ucheora added: “I am really excited to be joining the IPF as a Trustee as they embark on the next phase in delivery of their strategic plan.

“I’m looking forward to offering my expertise and experiences to the running of the charity to help make it perform even better. It’s an inspiring charity with so much to offer and to influence its future is something very compelling.”

Karen Hood, IPF Director added: “I’m delighted to welcome both Ucheora and Antonia to our Trustees. They have a wealth of experience between them which will really strengthen our Board and bring new perspectives to our outlook.

“I’m looking forward to working with both of them as we continue to raise our profile and having their support as we move into the next phase of the charity’s journey.”

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