Project Rugby, a joint initiative between Premiership Rugby and England Rugby designed to increase participation in the game by people from traditionally underrepresented groups, is in line for a prestigious award.
Launched nationwide last year, Project Rugby aims to engage Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic people, people from low socio-economic backgrounds and disabled people, aged 14-24, with rugby union.
And the good work already done in over 200 community locations across England and over 10,000 participants has seen Project Rugby shortlisted for the Sport England Community Sports Project of the Year at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards.
To vote for Project Rugby to take home the prize at the star-studded British Ethnic Diversity SportsAwards at Grosvenor House on Saturday 24 March please visit: http://bedsa.co.uk/vote/
In its first year, Project Rugby has reached thousands of participants from BAME backgrounds with 61% of these returning and continuing to play the game.
Premiership Rugby clubs have established partnerships with over 26 religious or cultural groups and delivered at over 89 distinct sites in areas of high BAME density, alongside the key principles that they are ‘new to rugby’ and not typically associated with rugby union (youth clubs, religious centres, community centres).
Wayne Morris, Premiership Rugby Community and CSR Director, said: “We are delighted that Project Rugby has been shortlisted as a finalist at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards 2018.
“Working with our club community teams we have had great success in opening the game up to underrepresented audiences and engaging them within the game. Project Rugby has taken our previous work in this area to a new scale in encouraging participation amongst BAME communities.
“Inclusion is one of five core values at Premiership Rugby and, we take our commitment to it seriously. We want Premiership Rugby to be welcoming to all people, be it as a participant, fan, employee, coach or volunteer, and we want to ensure we are doing as much as we can to achieve this.
“We look forward to the BEDSAs in March, and in the meantime we will keep up with our commitment to make continued progress in our inclusion work, and ensuring rugby and the Aviva Premiership is a game for all.”
Steve Grainger, Rugby Development Director at England Rugby, commented: “It is a priority for England Rugby to make the sport more accessible and appealing in order to increase diversity amongst players in the game.
“We cannot expect people from non-traditional audiences to come to us, so opening up opportunities to underrepresented groups is vital in our goal of a more representative playing base.
“Project Rugby has achieved great results in its first year and we look forward to keeping its momentum going in year two.”