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Community project shortlisted for award

A free Leicester Tigers rugby training initiative to encourage traditionally underrepresented groups to take up the sport is in line for a prestigious award.

Under the Project Rugby umbrella, the club has launched Leicester Tigers Swifts, a new junior tag rugby team for Year 4 boys and girls to get an introduction to the sport.

Free sessions take place every Monday at New College (Postcode LE3 6DN) and run from 4.40pm to 5.30pm, with a particular focus on black and minority ethnic people.

Tigers coaches have been visiting primary schools in Leicester city to spread the word.

The team will be invited to take part in a special matchday with free tickets for players and family to watch Tigers against Newcastle Falcons in the final home game of the season on Friday, April 27. Players will also take part in a tag rugby festival on the pitch on Saturday, April 28. 

More information is available from Sam Johnston by emailing [email protected]

Leicester Tigers Swifts is part of Project Rugby, a nationwide initiative between Premiership Rugby and England Rugby, designed to increase participation in the game by people from traditionally underrepresented groups.

Project Rugby aims to engage black and minority ethnic people, people from low socio-economic backgrounds and disabled people with rugby.

Now the good work done by Tigers and across 200 community locations in England and more than 10,000 participants has seen Project Rugby shortlisted for the Sport England Community Sports Project of the Year at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards.

To vote for Project Rugby to win at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards at Grosvenor House on Saturday, March 24 visit: bedsa.co.uk/vote

Premiership Rugby clubs have established partnerships with more than 26 religious or cultural groups and delivered at more than 89 distinct sites in areas of high BAME density, alongside the key principles that they are ‘new to rugby’ and not typically associated with rugby union (youth clubs, religious centres, community centres).

Dave McDonald, Tigers education and engagement manager, said: “It’s brilliant to see the great work that Project Rugby is doing here in Leicester and up and down the country being recognised in this award nomination.

“Leicester Tigers Swifts is a great way to introduce young people and BAME communities to rugby. We hope the Tigers name will inspire a new generation and underrepresented groups to take up the sport.”

Wayne Morris, Premiership Rugby community and CSR director, said: “Working with our club community teams we have had great success in opening the game up to underrepresented audiences and engaging them within the game. Project Rugby has taken our previous work in this area to a new scale in encouraging participation amongst BAME communities.

“Inclusion is one of five core values at Premiership Rugby and, we take our commitment to it seriously. We want Premiership Rugby to be welcoming to all people, be it as a participant, fan, employee, coach or volunteer, and we want to ensure we are doing as much as we can to achieve this.

“We look forward to the BEDSAs in March, and in the meantime we will keep up with our commitment to make continued progress in our inclusion work, and ensuring rugby and the Aviva Premiership is a game for all.”

Steve Grainger, rugby development director at England Rugby, added: “It is a priority for England Rugby to make the sport more accessible and appealing in order to increase diversity amongst players in the game.

“We cannot expect people from non-traditional audiences to come to us, so opening up opportunities to underrepresented groups is vital in our goal of a more representative playing base.

“Project Rugby has achieved great results in its first year and we look forward to keeping its momentum going in year two.”