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Black History Month

Project Rugby: I am a Rugby Player

Inclusion in sport is at the core of what the Harlequins Foundation stands for. The charitable arm of the club continues to challenge discriminatory attitudes, removing barriers to participation for everyone, regardless of age, sex, disability, race, religion, economic or other status.  We design and deliver programmes that promote the inclusion of those from traditionally underrepresented groups in sport, where we seek to show that rugby and sport in general is for everyone.  

Sport has the power to change lives. It brings people together, gives opportunities to learn key skills, increases confidence, and builds communities. 

Unfortunately for several underrepresented groups, access to sport does not come easily:   

  • For ethnic minority groups overall, the participation rate in sport is 40% compared with a national average of 46%.
  • The overall participation rate for male ethnic minorities is 49% compared with a national average for men of 54%.
  • For female ethnic minorities it is 32% compared with a national average for woman of 39%.

So how do we tackle this?

Project Rugby is one of the Foundation’s flagship programmes.  It is a joint initiative with Premiership Rugby and the RFU, designed to increase participation in the game by people from traditionally underrepresented groups.

Project Rugby was created with the belief that in order to engage and transition an individual into lifelong participation in the game, we must reduce the personal and environmental barriers they face. The programme is delivered at a time and place that ensures accessibility and involves activities designed to increase participants’ levels of self-confidence and resilience.

We caught up with one of our coaches, James Collis-Clark to find out a bit more about what Project Rugby is all about.

What does a Project Rugby session look like?

Project Rugby sessions are designed to be as fun and engaging as possible. We use other sports and games that participants might be used to, and put a rugby spin on it to change the perception of rugby, so they realise it’s actually a really fun sport to be involved in.  

Why is it important to run sessions like Project Rugby?

Project Rugby is an incredible programme and very important to the rugby community. It gives lots of communities that wouldn’t normally play Rugby the opportunity to, and an insight to what Rugby has to offer, and most importantly having fun and making new friends.

What can Project Rugby do for an individual?

Project Rugby can and does change lives. Rugby allows an individual to channel energy in a positive way and brings people together who wouldn’t normally meet.  

We are now running Project Rugby HUBs every Monday night throughout Autumn. They are free for anyone aged 14+ to attend. 

When and where?

When: Every Monday from 11th October – 15th November 2021

Time: 5:30pm – 6:45pm

Location: London Welsh Rugby Club, Old Deer Park, Richmond, TW9 2AZ

Our other programmes are fully inclusive, and we encourage young people from all backgrounds to find a passion in sports – it has the power to change your life.  Take a moment to read Alvin’s story and how his experience with the Harlequins Foundation has opened up a whole new career path for him. 

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