Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch has praised Project Rugby for its success in reaching out to local ethnic and disabled groups, who are traditionally under-represented in rugby union.
Speaking at Streatham &Croydon RFC, where she was meeting local youngsters and club officials who have been working together on Project Rugby since 2017, Crouch said: “We are committed to getting more people playing sport in their community.
“It’s great to see the Premiership, its clubs and the RFU working together to grow the game at the grassroots by reaching people who may have previously thought the sport was not for them.”
Project Rugby is a grassroots community programme, which aims to attract young people from black, Asian & minority ethnic (BAME) communities, areas of high deprivation and those with disabilities to try rugby union and join their local grassroots rugby clubs. It is a joint initiative, delivered by Premiership Rugby clubs in consultation with England Rugby regional workforce and grassroots clubs.
“Offering opportunities for underrepresented groups to play the sport is a key goal for the RFU,” said Steve Grainger, Rugby Development Director at the RFU.
“We want to take the game into communities where rugby isn’t widely available and demonstrate not only how much fun the game is but the skills and benefits it brings a player – confidence, teamwork, resilience, and wellbeing to name a few.
“The number of people who have tried the sport through Project Rugby is a testament to the strength and success of the programme and the RFU is particularly pleased that so many people are transitioning into local clubs and continuing to play rugby.”
Wayne Morris, Director of Community & CSR at Premiership Rugby, added: “Project Rugby has reached more than 10,000 young people in our first year, since we launched in October 2017. The second year of the project will start in the autumn and I’d like to thank all of those who have helped deliver the programme in its first year.”
Of the more than 10,000 who have taken part in Project Rugby, nearly 850 have made the transition into one of over 85 RFU affiliated grassroots clubs. The transition rates represent a significant injection of young people in the grassroots game and a positive step forward in increasing the diversity of people playing the game at a grassroots level.
“We’re a community club but with the demographic that we have it’s very hard to recruit from areas that generally have not played rugby,” explained Bob Hayes, Vice President of Streatham & Croydon RFC. “Project Rugby is one of the best things that I think has happened to this club in many years.”
For more information about Project Rugby please visit www.projectrugby.co.uk
First Published 02.05.18: http://www.englandrugby.com/news/tracey-crouch-minister-for-sport-backs-project-rugby/