The values of rugby could play a crucial role in helping unemployed young people get into work.
That is the view of Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock after he launched a new rugby version of Street League’s award-winning sport for employability programme in London.
The national charity uses a combined sport and education curriculum to support 16 to 24-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds into employment and training, and over the last few years has achieved impressive results through football, dance and fitness.
Now thanks to a grant from England Rugby’s ‘Try for Change Fund’ run in partnership with Sport Relief, and further support from financial services group Société Générale, rugby is being added to the mix.
After meeting young people on the programme, the Secretary of State said: “Sport has a unique power to improve lives, build confidence and bring communities together.
“It is fantastic that Street League is able to harness this power to give young people the vital skills they need in their future careers. Rugby teaches respect, teamwork and discipline, which are all invaluable both on and off the pitch.”
Matt Stevenson-Dodd, Chief Executive of Street League, said: “We are delighted to welcome Secretary of State Matt Hancock MP to Street League to launch our new rugby programme.
“Last year Street League helped 1,652 young people progress into work, education and training all over the UK. Launching Street League Rugby today, with support from our partners, will help us reach many more young people and especially those for whom the principles of rugby – team work, respect, fair play – will make a huge difference in their lives.”
The Chief Executive also took the opportunity to demonstrate Street League’s award-winning online Impact Dashboard to the Secretary of State. The Dashboard, which can be accessed here, enables the charity to provide real-time impact data to funders and supporters.
He added: “Street League is very proud to be driven by transparent impact measurement and data analysis which is exemplified by our online Impact Dashboard. Given the Secretary of State’s remit which includes digital and sport, I was pleased to demonstrate how we use data to drive social impact through the power of sport.”
The Try for Change Fund encourages charities, clubs and community groups to take up rugby for social good and widen the impact of the sport and its values to help improve the lives of people who need it most. Street League joins 17 other charitable projects and programmes that have received a grant since the Try for Change Fund was launched in October 2016.
Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director, said: “It’s been great to be here today and see how much everyone has enjoyed themselves. Street League has already been doing some fantastic work in communities across the country and we’re delighted that rugby is now part of the programme via the Try for Change Fund. It was inspiring to hear from some of the young people today about how Street League has helped them and we look forward to seeing how rugby contributes to the impact they will continue to have over the next few years.”
Kate Ashworth, Head of CSR for Société Générale said: “We are proud to support Street League with their great new initiative. As a bank, we have a long-standing relationship with rugby, from grassroots to international level and we recognise how impactful and inspiring the sport can be in terms of team spirit, discipline and confidence. Things which these young people will find incredibly useful in and out of the workplace.”