Trust Rugby International work rests on the belief that every individual can reach their full potential, regardless of their background, intellect, age, gender or ability, if they’re given the right outlet and outlook. Through the sport of rugby, we enable personal development of individuals and teams alike, growing their abilities on the field, but more importantly their confidence and skills based on our values of teamwork, trust, empowerment, inspiration and pride.
Trust Rugby International was founded to create a proactive platform for working towards a society that values diversity, equality and inclusivity. As a charity, we concentrate on bringing out the very best in every individual we work with, ranging from players with and without intellectual disabilities and difficulties – training next to one another – to supporting people recovering from alcohol and drug addiction to re-enter their communities.
Over time, we have founded a number of inclusive teams – our ‘Clans’ – which see these players come together to enable each other to live up to their full potential. Many of them have experienced social interactions for the first time through this setup and feel more comfortable navigating life, while others now feel ready to take on new adventures.
Initially, there was a small group of volunteers, setting up a three-month pilot project with NHS Ayrshire & Arran in 2012. Yet, none of us expected the project to take off the way it did and so many supporters to share our ideals.
Over four years, we built a strong player base in Ayrshire and Edinburgh, as well as two teams in Shropshire and Spain. Carrying our ideals into the world has helped the establishment of new teams across Europe and offered our teams the chance to showcase their skills on the pitch, as Scotland’s first official unified rugby team at the Mixed Ability Rugby World Tournament, even playing demonstration games at international matches. More recently, we have been able to carry our work into schools across Scotland’s central belt.
While there are many rugby clubs and projects across the UK and Ireland, we have pioneered the idea that each player can be enabled to reach their full potential. Unlike organisations that use the non-contact version of the sport to involve people with learning disabilities, we believe all players can play on the same team and the ‘Clans’ are a testament to that. Rugby in our eyes is a team game that, by building on key values, can create a fulfilling activity, providing an outlet for those who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to be engaged in sports.
We are working towards tackling the barriers that prevent people from accessing opportunities and opening up the sport to people. Right now, we can be especially proud of supporting people in recovery from addiction with our Missing Trick programme – a mix of rugby and university education. For many, it’s the last place on earth they thought they would find peace but upon finishing the course, they are hoping to start further education or become rugby coaches themselves.
As we continue to spread the word on how to enable individuals, our players’ stories are proof of the hard work put in by all of us. Their successes prove that what we’re doing has a profound effect – that if you give people a chance, they will surprise you. Promoting social inclusion has always been our aim and while winning a game of rugby is nice, what’s life changing is to be valued by those around you.
For more information about Trust Rugby International, please visit:
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