AN INITIATIVE which aims to improve lives and communities through the values of rugby is growing in popularity following 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.
More than 6,000 youngsters across the city have been taught lessons in teamwork, respect, integrity, enjoyment and discipline – all aspects of which are used in the game of rugby.
Dozens of Coventry schools benefitted from the community programmes – which Engage! delivered as part of Wasps Premiership Rugby’s nationwide Play and Breakthru campaigns.
The ‘Aviva Tackling Numbers’ task proved the most popular programme as more than 1,200 eight to nine-year-olds across 20 schools taking part in touch rugby to improve basic 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 programme also teamed up with the World Olympians Association to be one of two UK cities to pilot the World Fit programme, in partnership with GB Olympians.
The programme enables former Coventry Olympians and current elite athletes to visit over 3,000 Coventry schoolchildren and promote an active lifestyle through walking.
Tom Clift, programme manager of Engage! Coventry, said: “It’s been a fantastic first full year of grassroots participation for us.
“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.”
The city’s own rugby league club – Coventry Bears – are also getting involved in the programme by delivering SKYTRY to more than 1,000 pupils in the build up to the Four Nations double header at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday (November 5).
All 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.
Visit www.cityofrugby.org/get-involved/schools for further information about Engage! Coventry.