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Tackling Rugby Our Way

Rugby embraces the spirit of 2012

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2015 07:07pm
St. Margarets and North Twickenham, Richmond upon Thames London Boro
By England Rugby
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Youngsters from across the country came together at Birmingham for an event celebrating England Rugby’s Spirit of Rugby legacy project.

Using the inspiration of Rugby World Cup 2015 and the 2016 Rio Olympics, the partnership with Spirit of 2012 looks to involve groups of young people not traditionally engaged in rugby.
Each project is aimed at engaging 16-24 year olds not familiar with rugby and led by 16–24 year old volunteers. The individual projects were all designed and delivered by the volunteer group with assistance from England Rugby, local partners and Spirit of 2012. They are taking place in 15 different communities in Birmingham, Brighton, Exeter, South London, Manchester, Portsmouth, Northamptonshire, Loughborough, Darlington, Bristol, Cumbria, East Kent, Liverpool, Luton and Norfolk.

The day’s activities began with a Rugby Taster Session and included a chance for the volunteers, England Rugby and the Spirit of 2012 representatives to exchange ideas and talk to the new rugby recruits.

Steve Grainger, the RFU’s Development Director, who finished off the day’s proceedings by handing out world cup balls to the teams, many of who were tasting rugby for the first time said: “Today’s event combined with the efforts of the individual projects is great to see, as we are looking to work with a variety of partners to help discover innovative ways to bring rugby to communities that had previously thought the game was not relevant to them.

“The ultimate aim is to get as many young people who have never picked up a rugby ball in their life involved in the sport and benefit from the inherent spirit that rugby brings. Encouraging volunteer involvement to deliver the 15 projects is essential, because without the dedication of volunteers there would be no game.”

Spirit of 2012’s Debbie Lye, Spirit's Chief Executive, expanding on the project aims, said: "We are hugely excited to be supporting the Spirit of Rugby project. This England wide initiative supports young people to develop values, skills and contribute to their communities by volunteering in sport. Using the Rugby World Cup as the inspiration, we are unlocking the power of events to create change at a local level."

With the Rugby World Cup just around the corner, the celebration event at Glebe Farm Recreation Ground was the perfect opportunity for individual volunteer groups to share best practice, celebrate project progress and witness new rugby converts enjoying the spirit of the Game.

Local project volunteer, Callum Lightwood, 17, who recruited many of the youngsters from across various community sports camps in the city and had helped deliver today’s session summed up the success of the day: “It has been a great afternoon and very rewarding, especially seeing mainly football mad kids having an introduction to rugby. Everyone enjoyed having a go at a new sport and learning about teamwork, which is vital to the project and the game of rugby itself.”

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