02 Apr 2024

Rugby Reaches Out

The Birmingham Community Rugby Project (BCRP) is an example of England Rugby working closer in a ‘place’ through the local Active Partnership, Sport Birmingham. England Rugby tasked Sport Birmingham with strengthening connections with local rugby clubs, working through them to diversify their current rugby provision in the community.

Rugby clubs were supported to develop closer community connections and through other organisations to widen their reach. They worked on increasing capacity to deliver activity locally, shift perceptions of rugby, and to help provide a new experience of rugby for people who have previously never played the sport.

Clubs shifted their traditional ways of working, resulting in the following key outcomes:

  • A shift in perspective with regard to how/where rugby can be delivered to best introduce the sport to new participants.
  • Clubs feeling the benefits of working more collaboratively with key community partners.
  • Communities taking responsibility/ownership of rugby so they can drive participation.
  • Participants now recognise that there is a version of rugby out there that is suitable for them and their skills/fitness level.
  • Positive community and social elements are key for retention, including trust.
  • The clubs now feel more accessible to the community.

As part of the BCRP, numerous legacy impacts have followed, including a community activator training offer, and the proposed formation of new walking/touch rugby union sessions and clubs locally. The project legacy has also resulted in continued partnerships and funding bids for improved facilities to support more rugby in the city. There will also be a kit distribution to each satellite club.

The following video on local ‘Walking Rugby’ sessions is an example of the project’s positive and far reaching impact.