FOUNDATION | Project Rugby helping to transform lives
Rugby union is a sport that embraces everyone, and its values bring benefits for life. Visit any grassroots club any weekend of the season and you’ll see children and young people enjoying training and playing the game together.
Project Rugby is encouraging young people to get involved in rugby and to join their local rugby club. It is specifically designed to introduce black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, those from low socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as disabled people to the game of rugby through community departments at Premiership Rugby clubs.
The programme started back in September where we at the Saracens Foundation have been making headway engaging with over 723 participants up until now within the areas of North London, Hertfordshire, and Essex with the initial focus on learning, understanding, and playing the game of rugby. A significant number of young people have had the opportunity to engage with Saracens foundation coaches in session with the outcome of possibly joining a grassroots club and having a positive step in increasing the diversity at an amateur level.
Monday 24th January 2022 welcomed beneficiaries from Royal Liberty School participating in a Project Rugby transition events hosted by Old Cooperians RFC to mark an opportunity for participants who have been engaging with Project Rugby to express themselves on the field, showcase their rugby ability and skills. All under the watchful eye of Old Cooperians RFC coaching team, who offered coaching to the participants, answering lots of great questions, demonstrating high class coaching and gave plenty of fantastic advice throughout the event.
The transition event is aimed to celebrate the hard work and effort of the students who have been participating at in-school Project Rugby sessions provided by Saracens Foundation coaches, with the end goal of transitioning beneficiaries into local clubs to help increase participation within the community game. Project Rugby is a programme supported nationally by Gallagher and PRL and aims to encourage participation of students aged 14+ who come from typically under-represented groups in the sport (Diverse Ethnic Communities and Low Socio-Economic Groups), and Disability Groups.
Jake Matthews Saracens Foundation Project Officer said: “Providing the opportunity for under-represented groups to get involved in rugby is hugely important to us. This transition has allowed us to support and develop young players through engaging them in rugby, something that is totally new to them. To encourage the transition of the participants into rugby clubs not only supports the aim of Project Rugby, but also broadens the future opportunities for them as individuals. This event has provided a chance for the participants to get out to a local grassroots club, where a number of them will now joined and will continue on their rugby journey away from school and the Project Rugby sessions.”.
Mr Jarfar (Head of P.E) at Royal Liberty was impressed with the rugby on show, he said: “There are some really talented players taking part this evening. It’s great to see them get a run out and enjoy themselves. Evenings like this are invaluable and are a great opportunity to get more players from a range of backgrounds involved in the sport!”. Thank you to Old Cooperians RFC for hosting the event as well as the Saracens Foundation for their support and helping make it a success. A big well done to all the participants involved, we hope you enjoyed the transition evening as much as we did!
Andy Yarrow (Director of Rugby at Old Cooperians RFC) ‘’What an amazing event it was for the club on Monday night. Having such a large group of children at the school being part of the future of Old Cooperians Rugby Club is outstanding! It is clear to see the care, and personal touch Jake (Saracens Foundation Coach) puts into his work. It is amazing to think we can facilitate this type of event again in the future after we try and embed the current group of participants, we met Monday night!’’
Project Rugby provides young people the opportunity to play rugby and increase the number of local community clubs offering rugby opportunities to play. We will be delivering more transition evenings within local communities where we are currently delivering project rugby.