‘90% of rugby development has nothing to do with rugby’
Highland Councillors have warmly welcomed the work of Highland Rugby Club and its contributions to the lives of care experienced young people and other vulnerable people.
During a presentation to the Council’s Care, Learning and Housing Committee, Iain Chisholm, Highland Rugby Club’s Development Officer outlined the club’s work with young people and local communities and explained that ‘90% of rugby has nothing to do with rugby’.
He explained the club’s ambitions, belief and work within local communities teaching people how to ‘learn to play the Highland way’. Mr Chisholm described to Councillors how their worked focused on the health and wellbeing, mental health, employability and education of young people in care and those who are in vulnerable groups.
Among the club’s initiatives, ‘Schools of Rugby’ are currently being delivered at Culloden and Charleston Academies and Kingussie and Glenurquhart High Schools.
A Community Coaching Programme aimed at UHI students is also being created in partnership with the UHI which aims to stop the ‘brain drain’ happening in the Highlands and provide lifestyle reasons for young people to continue further education in the region and not move away.
Community Camps are also offered – with 2 coming up in the next couple of weeks – where people can come and have a try at rugby. Charges levied are for coaches’ fees and kit supplies.
The Club’s ‘Just Play Programme’ addresses how the gap is bridged between lack of activity and getting children playing outdoors, away from social media, and preventing the uptake of crime and drugs. The Just Play Programme is available to all schools and clubs.
In addition, the Club’s ‘Emerging Schools Programme’ has seen over a 300% increase in the amount of curriculum development in PE and has been delivered to over 5000 pupils. Other initiatives include the ‘Highland DPP Academy’ and ‘RugbyX’.
Going forward, the Club’s ‘GAIN-LINE’ unique partnership with the UHI, helps school leavers and people in care on a 12-week programme and is targeted at school leavers and those not in employment/education. The programme is based on personal development, covering: performance, coaching, nutrition, strength and conditioning, community development, and workplace experience.
Iain explained: “This work is all about mental health and wellbeing issues which are something that we want to battle and to make young people more resilient.”
Chair of the Care, Learning and Housing Committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: “As someone who has played sport throughout my early years, I fully understand and welcome getting more young people into their health and wellbeing and into a variety of sporting activities across their life. “
Vice Chair of the Care, Learning and Housing Committee Cllr Linda Munro added: “Iain’s commitment passion and enthusiasm is clear about this team and club effort. Young people on the edge of offending get there for a reason – they don’t feel good about themselves or things are not going well at home for them. For young people that come into care the odds are against them – for them and every young person to be part of a team with friendship, being taught positive life skills - it’s part of their rite of passage and I am glad that 90% of rugby has nothing to do with rugby. A huge thank you to Highland Rugby Club for their support and enthusiasm for our young people.”