The community arm of Scottish Rugby celebrated the success of its partnership with the British charity Wooden Spoon at the Savoy Centre in Levenmouth, Fife this week (Tuesday 21 February).
The New Communities Project sees the two organisations working together to bring rugby into new communities, including areas of urban deprivation, and those affected by antisocial behaviour. Their aim is to provide young people with tangible sporting and educational opportunities.
In recognition of the groups progress in Fife the players have been rewarded with tickets to see Scotland v France at Murrayfield on Sunday. The tickets were presented by Scotland 7s internationalist Peter Horne.
Scottish Rugby’s community rugby development manager, Neil Carrie, said: “Scottish Rugby are delighted to give these players tickets to come to Murrayfield on Sunday and to be working with the Wooden Spoon on a pilot project which enables us to take rugby into new communities, and in doing so forge productive new partnerships with the likes of Fife Council Youth Work, Buckhaven and Kirkland High Schools, and Glenrothes RFC.
This project sees a group of young men referred by school staff and youth workers to work through a weekly programme led by rugby development staff, which gets more young people involved in healthy activity, and uses rugby as a context for gaining qualifications, and developing life skills that can help young people stay in education or progress into volunteering, education and even employment.
The group has made great progress over the past six months with some beginning to play rugby for local school and clubs teams, whilst others have started to work through the online and practical RugbyReady qualifications.
One young man who has taken full advantage of the programme is Michael Nesbit.
‘Mikey’ jumped at the chance to be involved and staff report that he has really enjoyed the physical aspect of rugby.
He said: “I have learned how to respect others, and that respect doesn’t come overnight – you have to earn it”.
“I used to give my teachers a lot of abuse but since I started the Wooden Spoon project my attitude is a lot better and work has become a lot easier”.
“I now have direction in my life and have joined the local rugby club [Glenrothes]; before I started I never knew where I was meant to be.”