Over 6,000 Coventry youngsters benefit from educational and sporting values programme
An initiative set up to improve lives and communities through the values of rugby is growing in popularity after a record year of participants.
Over the past 12 months the Engage! Coventry initiative has delivered educational and sporting programmes teaching rugby’s core values - teamwork, respect, integrity, enjoyment and discipline - to over 6,000 children and young people across the city.
More than 40 Coventry schools benefitted from the community programmes, which Engage! was commissioned to deliver as part of Wasps Premiership Rugby’s nationwide Play and Breakthru campaigns.
The most popular programme was Aviva Tackling Numbers where 1,200 eight to nine-year- olds across 20 schools took part in touch rugby to improve their numeracy skills.
A further 1,000 schoolchildren also took part in On The Front Foot, which develops character traits such as resilience, tolerance and honesty through interactive classroom games and rugby-themed sessions.
The Rugby For All programme, which looks to increase more female participation in the sport, was attended by over 600 school pupils, while 780 youngsters took part in Something To Chew On which encourages healthy eating.
Young people aged between 14 and 18-years-old from disadvantaged backgrounds also reaped the benefits, with 65 people attending the Urban Rugby Squad programme to play sport alongside personal development workshops covering topics such as anger management, drugs misuse and sexual health.
The HITZ programme was also launched and delivered for the first time to help young people acquire the skills to get back into education, employment or further training.
Engage! Coventry also teamed up with the World Olympians Association to be one of just two UK cities to pilot the World Fit programme, in partnership with GB Olympians - enabling former Coventry Olympians and current elite athletes to visit over 3,000 Coventry schoolchildren and promote an active lifestyle through walking.
This culminated in the first ever city-wide rugby 7’s festival, involving over 20 primary and ten secondary schools celebrating the game making its debut at the Rio Olympics and International Olympic Day.
The programmes are delivered as part of the seven-year strategy to establish Coventry as a City of Rugby – an initiative which aims to increase participation across all ages and at every level, by 2023.
Tom Clift, Programme Manager of Engage! Coventry, said:
It’s been a fantastic first full year of grassroots participation for us, laying down a solid foundation for the City of Rugby initiative to build upon in the years leading up to 2023.
Working with national partners at the RFU, RFL and Premiership Rugby and our community partners at Wasps, Coventry Bears and Coventry Rugby, the programmes are not only nurturing the next generation’s interest in the sport, but also the types of people they grow up to be by teaching them the skills and values they can apply to everyday life at school, home, in their community or on the sports field.
By introducing young people to rugby in a creative and fun way that they will remember, we aim to encourage them to play the sport and learn the game of rugby league or union, for years to come.
Over 30 schools have already signed up for this year’s Wasps community programmes, whilst one primary school each from the Aviva Tackling Numbers and Something To Chew On programmes will get to attend the Aviva Premiership rugby final at Twickenham on Saturday, May 27, 2017.
Coventry Bears will also be delivering their SKYTRY programme to more than 1,000 pupils as we build up to hosting the 4 nations double header at the Ricoh Arena on November 5th.