Newcastle Falcons launched the Rugby4All programme on 29th March at Novos women and girls rugby taster day, Novos RFC.
Rugby4All is Premiership Rugby’s innovative programme backed by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to promote diversity and equality in rugby. The programme aims to increase the number of women and girls involved in the sport, to provide better access for disabled people and to promote the game among Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups.
Delivered by Premiership Rugby clubs, the programme aims to recruit and train 240 BME coaches. In high BME communities 1,800 primary school children will be given opportunities to try rugby, and there will be taster sessions for 600 11-15 year olds with 240 of them progressing into a player development programme.
The new programme will also provide 7,200 secondary school girls with the chance to play rugby, and will support female players to join local rugby clubs. In addition, 480 teachers and volunteers will be trained to support the growth of girls rugby.
Mark McCafferty, CEO of Premiership Rugby is pleased that the programme will work alongside Premiership Rugby’s existing community programmes to expand the reach of the game.
“We are very proud to have been given this grant from the Equality and Human Rights Commission so that Premiership Rugby can work to broaden the appeal of rugby union into new communities,” said McCafferty.
“We have a hugely diverse community programme that is race and gender blind but this is the first time that Premiership Rugby will deliver a programme specifically designed to increase participation within these two target groups.
“It’s about making rugby more widely available to people, encouraging people to get involved and to enjoy all the great things that happen as a result of being involved in rugby.”
The grant awarded to Premiership Rugby is part of a £2m investment from the Government through EHRC into programmes to encourage more women and BME groups to participate in sport.
Minister for Sport, Helen Grant backed the Rugby4All programme at its launch. She said:
"Women's rugby is at an all-time high right now following England's World Cup win and this initiative from Premiership Rugby and the EHRC will build on that further encouraging more women and girls to get involved.
"It's great that investment will also go into growing the game among BME communities – both as participants and coaches. Hosting next year's Rugby World Cup in England gives us a huge opportunity to broaden the appeal of the sport and it's one that we must make the most out of."
"Rugby is a fantastic way of bringing people together whatever their backgrounds, developing skills and providing great health benefits,” said Lord Holmes, Disability Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
“Everyone should have the same opportunity to get involved in the game regardless of their ability, gender or social background.
"We look forward to working with Premiership Rugby to build on the inspirational power of the Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games and to harness the major investment promised in the bids to grow rugby across diverse communities and get more people involved as participants and coaches."
For more information about the Rugby4All programme including how to get involved, please visit premiershiprugby.com/rugby4all.