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Bristol Rugby, Gloucester Rugby and Saracens shortlisted for prestigious award

Three visionary programmes have been shortlisted for the national BREAKTHRU award ahead of the Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards.

A programme that helps people with special educational needs and disabilities, one that has empowered young people with disabilities to improve mental health and an innovative community cohesion programme have made their way onto a shortlist of Premiership Rugby’s BREAKTHRU Award that applauds programmes and activities which champion social change within both communities and individuals.

And with ground-breaking projects taking place across the country, this year’s Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards panel had a tough task to separate the stellar work done by all the clubs in communities across the UK.

The judging panel for the BreakThru award chaired by Lydia Good, BREAKTHRU – Development Manager, Premiership Rugby included Elizabeth Tydeman, Public Health England, Emily Cramp, The Movember Foundation, Olly Dawson, Comic Relief and Tom Harrison, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham.

The judges were able to create a shortlist of three programmes all doing their best to implement social change – Saracens’ ‘Sarries RFC’, Bristol Rugby’s Spectrum Project and Gloucester Rugby’s FAIR Play Rugby.

The full shortlist for the BreakThru award is:

  • Bristol Rugby’s Spectrum Project
  • Gloucester Rugby’s FAIR Play Rugby
  • Saracens’ Sarries RFC

Bristol Rugby’s Spectrum Project has helped people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities throughout Greater Bristol take part in sport, leisure and personal development within school settings and regular curriculum time.

Saracens’ ‘Sarries RFC’ has empowered young people with disabilities to improve mental health and wellbeing by focussing on the ability of disabled bodies, championing inclusivity and creating opportunity.

Gloucester Rugby’s FAIR Play Rugby is an innovative community cohesion programme that aimed to capture the spirit of the Rugby World Cup by bringing together 20 young people from different cultural backgrounds aged 16-19.  

Tom Harrison, Director of Education at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham, was part of the panel charged with choosing a winner, which is set to be revealed on July 7.  

"There was some extremely high quality candidates this year for the BREAKTHRU award, looking at different sorts of projects focussing on a variety of issues, whether they be educational, social change or health benefit," he said.

"It was great to see such a diverse range of different projects that these clubs were running alongside their local communities and partners which really gave a fantastic overview of the potential for Premiership Rugby clubs to make a real impact within their local communities."

Harrison insisted that what separated Bristol, Saracens and Gloucester from the rest, was the longevity they could offer.  

He said: "There was a certain amount of appeal of innovative programmes that looked at social programmes in a different way and then there was the element of sustainability. We picked those going to have longer term and wider impact in the future."

The winner of the award will be announced on Thursday 7 July at the illustrious Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards at the Terrace Pavilion, House of Commons, and on Twitter via the @premrugby account. Use the hashtag #RugbyChangingLives to join the conversation.

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