Saracens’ Sarrie’s RFC programme has been named the winner of the BreakThru Award at the Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards, thanks to its work with autistic children.
The club’s initiative was named BreakThru Award winner at a glittering ceremony at the House of Commons last night, where all the nominees and their guests were invited to attend.
Premiership Rugby’s innovative BreakThru Award, supported by Jaguar Land Rover UK applauds programmes and activities which champion social change within both communities and individuals and their sponsorship and partnerships manager, Richard Duncan, was thrilled to see the work done by all of the Premiership Rugby clubs.
“Land Rover is delighted to be supporting Premiership Rugby’s BreakThru award again this year,” said Duncan.
“The three innovative community programmes shortlisted highlight the important work done by all the Premiership Rugby clubs.
“The nominated programmes have shown how rugby’s core values can empower young people with disabilities and encourage social change within the clubs communities and its individuals.”
The judges were able to create a short-list of three programmes all doing their best to implement social change in their area with projects at Bristol Rugby, Gloucester Rugby and Saracens all making the cut – but it was Sarrie’s RFC that took home the gong.
The Sarrie’s RFC programme intends to make three key changes to the lives of its participants, all of whom are young people with disabilities.
The scheme’s three-pronged approach aims to improve participants’ physical health, mental health and their community involvement.
Jane Ellison, Minister for Public Health, praised Saracens for their work in the community.
“Regular physical activity, all year round, is vital for our health and wellbeing, which is why I am so pleased to have presented the BreakThru Award at the Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards.
“It’s great to see Premiership Rugby clubs reaching out to their wider communities, using the influence they have for good.”
Sarrie’s RFC formally started in September 2014, working on the back of the Sarrie’s Skills Club.
In its two-year history it has worked with schools to give a sporting provision for disabled children outside of the school environment.
Since 2015 the scheme has engaged 350 young people with disabilities, creating 20 new club members, taken 114 people on tour on a rugby tour to Worcester, and given 30 parents respite from their care duties.
The BreakThru Award was judged by Comic Relief’s Lisa Bedding, Alan McGill from Price Waterhouse Coopers and Chris Grant from Sported, and was presented in Westminster.
Bedding has a history of assessing community project presentations with her own job, and was particularly impressed by Sarrie’s RFC’s engagement with its local community.
“They had identified a very specific local need and had developed a programme that responded to that,” she said.
“In my job I fund a range of projects and I was really impressed by the quality of the Saracens programme, it is a really great example of how rugby is being used to promote social change.”
To read more about Premiership Rugby’s community programmes, please visit premiershiprugby.com/community or join the conversation #RugbyChangingLives