Harlequins Foundation bring rugby to Hounslow:
Since the start of the year, Harlequins Foundation Coach James Collins-Clark, has worked been working closely with local state schools and rugby clubs to introduce over 500 typically disadvantaged young people to the sport for the first time. Both boys and girls aged 14-16 have had the opportunity to access a new sport, develop their teamwork and social skills as well as adopt the sport’s core values and behaviours as noted by Kingsley Academy PE lead Anita Fiddes Kapadia; “ James turned up with no preconceptions regarding the children at our school, he wanted as many of them to play and more importantly enjoy playing rugby. His passion for the sport and his personality made sure this happened!
Hounslow Rugby HUB helps over 90 local youngsters into Rugby.
On the 25th February 2019, the Harlequins Foundation launched a new Project Rugby HUB site in Hounslow based at Grasshoppers RFC. Working closely with local community rugby coaches, the Harlequins Foundation provided weekly Friday night inclusive rugby sessions for local young people as a way of introducing them to the sport and encouraging long term participation in the sport. Over 140 14-16 year olds had joined the coaches for at least one session, and just over 90 of these had decided to join the club and begin life as a rugby player.
“Project Rugby has been an overwhelming success since its launch,” said Wayne Morris, Community, Corporate Social Responsibility Director at Premiership Rugby. “The fact that we’re seeing so many new players take up rugby is fantastic and we’re taking huge strides in making the game more accessible, as well as engaging communities with no background or history with rugby.
“It’s about giving rugby union a try and once people change their perceptions that it isn’t a sport for them or overcome the trepidation they feel about stepping onto the pitch, they are converts and reap the full benefits of the game.”
As part of the programme’s key strategic aims, the Harlequins Foundation have also enabled schools to bring rugby into their core PE curriculum for the first time. Kingsley Academy, Hounslow had never fielded a school rugby team in their 118-year history until being approached by the Harlequins Foundation trough Project Rugby. After a few weeks of rugby sessions, their newly formed school team had 18 players signed up and they entered their first official festival at Grasshoppers RFC in February as part of the programme.
Wayne Morris added; “We are incredibly proud that Project Rugby is delivering tangible results. We want rugby to be a positive catalyst in these participants’ lives and our initial research has shown that new players are enjoying benefits to their wellbeing such as increased confidence and social connectedness.”