This season the Harlequins Foundation have teamed up with the Metropolitan Police Task Force as part of the Premiership Rugby programme ‘Project Rugby’, a Gallagher UK sponsored initiative designed to grow participation rates among underrepresented community groups.
Over 500 typically disadvantaged young people aged 14-16 have taken part in the programme since the start of the season with the Harlequins Foundation’s coaching team. In partnership with The Met Police, the young people are being introduced to a brand new sport and its core values; teamwork, respect and sportsmanship in particular. On top of this, they get the chance to build and develop strong positive relationships with the Met police and learn first-hand from the experts about key topics such as; stop and search, gang involvement and crime.
The Task Force Engagement and Diversion Seargent, Chris Bright commented “It’s really exciting to be working alongside a Premiership Rugby Club in Harlequins using rugby to engage with so many typically disadvantaged young people as part of Project Rugby. We’ve been able to connect with these young people and strengthen key networks which will ultimately help them to stay safe in their communities.”
Over the course of a half term, those taking part in Project Rugby will have had the chance to develop their rugby skills, represent their school at a festival and developed positive relationships with their local Met Police officers.
The Harlequins Foundation’s Inclusion Manager, Matthew Williams said “We’ve really enjoyed working alongside The Met Police so far this season, together we’ve enabled hundreds of young people to take up the sport for the first time and hopefully we’ll see some of these join their local team very soon. Thanks to the TSG officers, we’ve been able to reach new audiences and use rugby and it’s core values to help keep our young people safe on the streets of London.”