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Engage! celebrates impact of Wasps community programmes

A premiership rugby grassroots programme has reached out to more than 7,000 young people across 119 schools during its first three academic years in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Six different rugby initiatives covering academic and personal development have been delivered by Coventry Sports Foundation’s Engage! programme on behalf of Wasps since the club’s arrival in the Midlands.

The largest programme, Aviva Tackling Numbers, saw nearly 3,000 schoolchildren combine classroom learning with tag rugby to improve their numeracy skills, whilst 1,404 pupils learned about healthy eating on the Something To Chew On programme.

Rugby4All – a project encouraging diversity and equality in rugby – saw 1,355 women and girls take part in the sport, while 1,131 schoolchildren took part in On The Front Foot to develop character traits such as confidence, resilience and focus to prepare them for higher education and the world of work.

More than 150 of the region’s teenagers have also benefited from the Urban Rugby Squad programme which focuses on topics such as anger management, sexual health and drug misuse, while the HITZ programme has given over 40 young people the direct skills and qualifications to get back into higher education, training or employment.

The success provides a boost for the City of Rugby project, which aims to make Coventry a world leader at every level of the sport by 2023.

Tom Clift is the Programme Manager of Engage!, a programme that promotes and uses the core values of rugby to develop healthy, well-rounded and confident young people. He said:

It has been an honour to work with Wasps over the past three academic years. The team has seen first-hand the impact having an Aviva Premiership rugby club in our city can have and everyone at Engage! should be proud of the community work they have delivered on behalf of Wasps since the club arrived in the area.

The programmes showcase the game of rugby at its finest as it can have positive impacts on the next generation in a variety of ways both on and off the field of play, whilst also helping to introduce the sport to more young people for the very first time.

The challenge now is to nurture these young people’s interest in the game as they grow older, and having Wasps in the city, as well as Coventry Rugby Club and Coventry Bears helps support our aims to put Coventry back on the map as a passionate rugby city.

To broaden our reach and build on the delivery we have undertaking over the past few years, moving forwards we will be focusing on our own Engage! Values Programme next year, while the Wasps’ community team will be delivering a new round of Premiership Rugby community programmes. We would like to thank Wasps for their on-going support.

Wasps have engaged with more than 100,000 children and adults in Coventry and Warwickshire over the past three years, where the various Premiership-led programmes have played a part.

Neal Coupland, Head of Community at Wasps, added:

Programmes like this are vital to tapping into the vast amounts of potential for rugby in Coventry and across the wider Midlands.

Engage! have done a great job at getting these programmes off the ground, and we will continue to work alongside them as we aim to make Coventry a world leader in the game.