Premiership Rugby is delighted to be working with Activity Alliance to deliver the Inclusive Activity Programme up and down the country.
This season has seen England reach the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, while this season’s Gallagher Premiership Rugby campaign is shaping up to be one of the tightest and most exciting yet.
But away from the bright lights and TV cameras premiership Rugby’s 13 clubs are working hard to ensure rugby is a game for all.
As with many sport teams that play at an elite level, performance pathways are an essential part of their makeup. Opportunities available for disabled people is crucial to their participation at grassroots level, and to their progression as an elite player. Project Rugby, Premiership Rugby and England Rugby’s inclusivity programme, is doing just that.
The programme – which is run in partnership with Gallagher – will engage thousands of participants per year (aged 14+ and 16+ for disabled people) and will be delivered by community staff from Premiership Rugby’s 14 shareholder clubs at over 200 locations across England, providing accessible opportunities for people to participate in the game at a time and place that can be easily accessed by target audiences.
Activity Alliance’s partnership with Premiership Rugby has so far seen five Inclusive Activity Programme (IAP) workshops delivered. Several coaches from Premiership Rugby’s club community teams, who are working on Project Rugby, attended the three-hour workshop.
One organisation who has benefitted from the IAP programme is Saracens Sport Foundation.
Charlie White, Project Rugby Officer at Saracens Sport Foundation, said: “The Inclusive Activity Programme workshop was expertly delivered and really thought provoking. The course taught us how to modify coaching sessions and focus on the participants abilities rather than their impairments.
“We had the opportunity to put our knowledge into practice and apply theory models to live coaching situations that we encounter when delivering Project Rugby and introducing new people to the game. I’d highly recommend this course to all rugby coaches!”
Statistics show that Project Rugby has recently reached the impressive landmark of engaging 35,000 new players within rugby union. And in the last two years, it has also seen over 6,500 disabled people pick up a rugby ball and become involved with the game.
Tim Mathias, Inclusion and Accessibility Manager at Premiership Rugby, said: “Our aim at Premiership Rugby is to extend the offer of rugby to all – and our Project Rugby participation programme has been a huge success in providing an introduction to those who have never played the game before or who perhaps felt that it was not a game for them.
“The relationship with Activity Alliance and being part of the Inclusive Activity Programme has ensured that that community coaches at our Clubs are confident and equipped to cater for all, and help us to broaden our welcome and invite to participate regardless of background or ability.”
Chloe Studley, Inclusive Activity Programmes Manager, said: “Activity Alliance is pleased to support Premiership Rugby to improve opportunities for disabled people across the UK.
“Inclusive sport and activity sessions are really important in supporting anyone who wants be active. Premiership Rugby, with England Rugby, is already doing great work on inclusion through its Project Rugby programme.
“To appeal to and meet everyone’s needs, we need to adapt and deliver different activities. This is exactly what IAP is giving Premiership Rugby coaches the confidence to do.”