Back in March, the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to young people being active and socialising with their friends, which had an incredibly negative effect on their wellbeing.
To counter this, we at The Harlequins Foundation took our Project Rugby HUBs online, creating “Virtual HUB” sessions, where young people were able to stay engaged with rugby and keep in touch with their friends, helping them to keep active and improve their mental wellbeing.
With the help of London Sport we were able to set up sessions for our HUB sites across our heartland boroughs of Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond.
Our Development Officer, James Collins-Clark and Wellbeing Officer Hollie Smith put on three Virtual HUB sessions a week working on rugby skills, fitness and aerobic exercises so our participants could keep their ball familiarisation skills up as well as their fitness.
The Virtual HUB’s have now been running for 14 weeks with 70 attendees and when the Rugby Football Union (RFU) opened Stage C to grassroots rugby, our participants couldn’t wait to get their boots back on and be back on the pitch.
Grasshoppers RFC was the first to open up and on the 13th September 2020, they welcomed 13 of our HUB participants back into their club, allowing to get their boots on and be back out on a rugby pitch for the first time since March.
Leroy Arbouine, Grasshoppers RFC Head of Women and Girls said: “We have a really positive relationship with The Harlequins Foundation, and to see so many promising young people get involved in our sport and be happy within the environment we create here at Grasshoppers is a great feeling. “
James Collins-Clark, Foundation Development Officer, said, “To see 13 of our Project Rugby HUB kids lace up their boots again and have fun with their friends is one of the reasons I love my job. Its such a great feeling knowing you had a positive impact on people’s lives.
If you would like to get involved with one of our HUB sessions, or want to know more about how you can get involved with rugby in your school or local club, then please contact James Collins-Clark on firstname.lastname@example.org.