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Diversity at the top of English rugby’s agenda

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Utilising the expertise and community delivery infrastructure of the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs the two-year programme – which is made possible by a £600,000 grant from the Equality and Human Rights Commission – will bring a new generation of people to rugby union.

“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.” said the Minister for Sport.

“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.”

The grant awarded to Premiership Rugby is part of a £2 million investment from the Government through the Equality and Human Rights Commission in programmes to encourage more women and ethnic minorities to participate in sport.

As part of this new programme Premiership Rugby is committing to:

- Recruit and train 480 female teachers and volunteers to support the growth of girls’ rugby.

- Provide 7,200 secondary school girls with rugby in appealing formats - Touch (non-contact) and 7s - in and out of school. This will impart rugby’s ethos of teamwork, discipline, enjoyment, respect and sportsmanship. Nurture talent by providing skills development camps for 1,000 girls

- Transition 400 female players into grassroots clubs as part of a sporting habit for life.

“Premiership Rugby’s community programmes, implemented through England’s 12 elite clubs, reach 310,000 people each year. A third of this total are women and girls and the same number comes from BME communities,” said Premiership Rugby Chief Executive Mark McCafferty.

“We are very proud to have been given this grant so Premiership Rugby can join with the Minister for Sport in broadening the appeal of rugby union and driving it into new communities. This is a big day in the growth of Premiership Rugby.

“We saw recently at the Women’s World Cup how rugby can create role models that the country can be proud of.

“Our Programmes deliver positive outcomes for health and rugby participation, education and social cohesion. This important new grant from the Equality and Human Rights Commission will leverage pre-existing relationships, infrastructure and experienced coaches.

“We have a hugely diverse community programme that is race and gender blind but this would be the first time that Premiership Rugby will deliver a programme specifically designed to increase participation within these two target groups.”

In addition to the crucial work with women and girls Premiership Rugby will as part of this programme also grow the game in BME groups.

And Premiership Rugby has committed to

- Build awareness and trust of community leaders and parents

- Recruit and train 240 BME coaches to support the growth of the game long-term.

- Provide 1,800 primary school age children in high BME communities with opportunities to try rugby

- Provide 600 11-15 year olds with taster sessions with 240 going into a player development programme.

McCafferty added: “At present, 36% of our HITZ programme participants come from BME backgrounds. This programme is the first time Premiership Rugby will focus on increasing BME participation specifically.

“This vital work, delivered locally by Premiership Rugby clubs will leverage the power of the 12 Premiership clubs’ stadia and brands. It will capitalise on Premiership Rugby’s expertise in delivering community participation and coach training programmes.”

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