Ospreys forward Lloyd Ashley scooped up the Welsh Rugby Players Association Bursary Award. In England, Gloucester captain Lewis Ludlow won the second RPA Gain Line Award of the season.
Life outside rugby is a key focus for both entrepreneurs, with mental health awareness and eco-powered pizzas catching the judges’ attention. Both awards are sponsored by Vodafone.
Swansea-based Lloyd Ashley received the bursary to boost his LivingWell business, which focuses on well-being support. Working with the rugby community, Lloyd spotted a growing need for open conversations, support and guidance around mental health.
LivingWell has been set up to break down the stigmas, to help with education and to start the conversation for people who haven’t found a safe place to speak yet.
After a warm reception and a raft of training qualifications, the Ospreys player now has his sights set on helping schools and corporate sectors to develop their support systems, too.
“This money will give me the opportunity to design a website, freshen up the image of LivingWell and support me in attracting different networks. I can’t wait to get going with it and see where it goes next!”
Over in Gloucestershire, a quick glance at Lewis Ludlow’s RPA Gain Line Award submission tells you that this isn’t your average 27-year-old.
As well as captaining Gloucester rugby team, the openside flanker runs a smallholding farm when he’s not volunteering as a Police Special Constable. Has he had to tackle anyone as part of his policing duties?
“Not just yet,” the 6ft 3” 102kg athlete laughs, “but it’s in the locker should I have to!”
But it’s his Openside Pizza business that impressed the judges. First appearing as a guest for pizza restaurant ‘Hooker and Eight’, Lewis was inspired to take their formula on the road to local games and outdoor events.