More than 100 schoolchildren from Redditch and Solihull have taken part in rugby takeover events at Birmingham & Solihull Bees Rugby Club.
The pupils aged 7-9 years from Webheath Academy Primary School, Mappleborough Green Primary, Coppice Primary School and Tanworth-in-Arden Primary School were given the opportunity to take part in a series of mini-rugby sessions and receive high-quality sports coaching from qualified rugby coaches.
The takeover days were delivered in association with Birmingham & Solihull Bees Rugby Club and attended by Redditch Borough Council Leader, Cllr Matt Dormer.
They are part of a two-year partnership launched last year between leading commercial property developer, Stoford and community engagement specialist, Community Group.
The partnership aims to provide a programme of PE and sports opportunities for children in Redditch and Solihull, with a focus on rugby union and rugby values. It includes provision of lunch time clubs and tailored PE and curriculum delivery, enabling children to develop a healthy habit of exercising and support a positive experience of sport.
There are also opportunities for wider out-of-school activities, such as pathways to play club rugby at Birmingham & Solihull Bees.
Dan Gallagher, Joint Manager Director at Stoford, said: “It’s so positive to see young people getting active and having fun. This is the first time that many of the children have taken part in the game of rugby and hopefully the experience will inspire them to keep playing. Rugby is not only a fun sport to play, it also teaches important life skills as part of a supportive and inclusive team environment that any age group can enjoy.”
Sam Verralls, Rugby Development Manager at Community Group, said: “We know how critical a role sports and sporting experiences can play in shaping us as individuals. It has been excellent to see how all of the children have been fully invested in PE lessons and those who participated in the festival. If we’ve ignited an interest for a handful of young people in playing rugby or taking up any form of sport or activity, then that’s a real positive. Considering that for many too, this was their first off-site sporting experience, it was excellent to see the skill level, engagement and smiles to go with it!”
Mini and Junior Chair for Birmingham & Solihull Bees Rugby Club, Pete Carr, said: “We’ve hugely enjoyed hosting the two events with Stoford and Community Group. You could see how much fun the children had and we’re really keen to build on that momentum. We want local schools to continue to use the space we have available here and would encourage anyone interested to contact the Club.”
Cllr Matt Dormer, Redditch Borough Council Leader and Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “To see the youngsters taking part in the match and enjoying themselves was brilliant. It is important for sports like rugby to be accessible to our young people so they can learn about working as a team, make new friendships and generally have a good run around in an age where so much time is spent on screens. And who knows, this could inspire the next Sarah Hunter or Owen Farrell hailing from Redditch!”
CAPTION: (back row, l-r) Dan Gallagher, Stoford; Iain Johnson, Birmingham & Solihull Rugby Club; Cllr Matt Dormer, Redditch Borough Council; Sam Verralls, Community Group; Pete Carr, Birmingham & Solihull Rugby Club. (front row, l-r) Ryan and Izzy from Mappleborough Green Primary; Darcy and Joey from Webheath Academy Primary School.