Project Rugby throws support behind Level Playing Field’s ‘Weeks of Action’ campaign
Project Rugby, a joint initiative between Premiership Rugby and England Rugby, has teamed-up with leading disability charity Level Playing Field (LPF) to bring disabled young people a unique experience.
The group, from a selection of specialist colleges involved in the programme took part in a top rugby coaching session, festival and a stadium tour at the Recreation Ground, home of Bath Rugby.
The festival forms part of LPF’s ‘Weeks of Action’ campaign to showcase the work being done to improve the enjoyment and experience of disabled sports fans on matchdays.
Over 60 participants from specialist schools and colleges in Somerset and Wiltshire enjoyed a ‘mixed ability’ rugby festival, a social lunch together followed by a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Recreation Ground including the home dressing room, the viewing platforms and stands, and a chance to walk the hallowed turf.
The festival was part of Bath Rugby Foundation’s delivery of Project Rugby, which aims to increase participation in the game from non-traditional rugby audiences. Run in partnership with Gallagher, Project Rugby has reached over 20,000 14-24-year-olds, helping to increase participation in the game.
Dan Hine, Delivery Manager at Bath Rugby Foundation, said:
“This season alone, we have introduced over 1200 young people to the game via the Project Rugby programme. As coaches, our mission is to give them a taste of the game, get them active, and form new friendships. The ability to use the Rec helps to inspire the group and kick start this habit!”
Project Rugby is delivered by community staff from Premiership Rugby’s clubs in partnership with Gallagher at over 750 locations across England, providing accessible opportunities for people to participate in the game at a time and place that can be easily accessed. More information can be found at: www.projectrugby.co.uk
Owain Davies, CEO at Level Playing Field, commented:
“Weeks of Action is a vital campaign that provides a great opportunity for clubs to celebrate a positive and inclusive experience for disabled fans, their families and friends.
“It is estimated that 50% of disabled people have never participated in leisure or sports activities. Allowing clubs to showcase what they have to offer for disabled fans in making their matchday the best it possibly can, will go some way in addressing this shortfall and making the game as a disabled fan more accessible.
“The Premiership Rugby Clubs work hard with their disabled fans and in their communities to provide opportunities for wider engagement and we will continue to support that journey. Our Weeks of Action gives those clubs the opportunity to champion all of their hard work to date.”
LPF’s Weeks of Action campaign, now in its 15th year, has seen professional sports clubs, supporters’ associations and spectators and community participants joining together over two weeks to celebrate the matchday experience for disabled fans. More information on Level Playing Field can be found at: www.levelplayingfield.org.uk
Wayne Morris, CSR and Community Director at Premiership Rugby, said:
“Events like this festival delivered by the Bath Rugby Foundation allow us to reach new communities and for many people, put the benefits of enjoying rugby on the agenda for the first time.
“We have enjoyed working with Level Playing Field since 2015. Their expertise has helped us to formulate our Accessibility Strategy, allowing our fans and the many disabled young people participating in Project Rugby to enjoy a fulfilling experience on matchdays.
“We want Gallagher Premiership to be accessible and welcoming. Rugby is a sport for everyone no matter their background or ability, and we feel rugby has the potential to bring people together and feel part of their community.”
Alex Cohen, Director of Operations at Bath Rugby, commented:
“Our role as the Operations Team is to maintain the Rec as safe, enjoyable and friendly and ensure that all visitors feel welcome and respected.
“We have embedded a number of key improvements to the matchday experience of disabled fans including specialist Accessibility stewards, improved signage and viewing platform for wheelchair users.
“We continue to make improvements in accessibility and this area is a key element in our plans for the new ‘Stadium for Bath’ redevelopment.”