“As coaches we have a massive respect for Sams efforts, but this was also reciprocated by a number of the other Young people.”

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Region: South West
Sex: Female
School : Learning Partnership West, Year 11

DRW coaches started working with Sams in September this year, from week one Sams stood out to us for several reasons, firstly being a female in a predominantly male group, but more strikingly her extremely loud and destructive attitude to her surroundings. However, this was also matched with a fearless enthusiasm – despite rugby being completely new to her and the fact that many of the other members of the group were quick to criticise and shoot down anyone who made a mistake or even anyone who was seen to be 'trying to hard'. After a few weeks of watching the sessions, Sams began to throw herself into every game we did.

A massive achievement was after 4 weeks, when we did a session on the tackle bags. There was lots of bravado and not a lot of action from the majority of the group, however Sams again demonstrated her fearlessness and a tough edge to fully engage and most importantly enjoy the session. As coaches we have a massive respect for Sams efforts, but this was also reciprocated by a number of the other YPs. After only 7 weeks of working with Sams, she helped lead her team to our south west school's tournament. Here she became one of the days star players, working hard for her team – demonstrating some brilliant rugby skills but also respecting the opposition, even playing for another school who were short on numbers. Sams efforts helped her team pick up the ' team of the day ' award, something her and her teachers were incredibly proud of.

On the back of this successful tournament, Sams has expressed a strong interest in joining a local girls team – DRW coaches are currently supporting her in finding a club and attending her first few sessions.

“He takes a little bit of persuasion to get involved but once he does, he enjoys the sessions and you can start to see a smile appearing.”

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Rohan is a Year 10 pupil at the City of Birmingham School - King’s Centre, one site of the largest Pupil Referral Unit in the country. He joined the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme in September of this year and was initially quite apprehensive. He lacks confidence as some of his peers are bigger, faster and stronger but he does have quite a competitive edge to him.

Rohan is very wary of new people and it was a good couple of weeks before he would speak to coaches. However, he is starting to come out of his shell a little and is starting to build some trust with the coaches. He takes a little bit of persuasion to get involved but once he does, he enjoys the sessions and you can start to see a smile appearing.

Clearly Rohan needs a little more time before he will open up more, but he has made some progress and with encouragement his confidence will grow

“A particular highlight for Tom was his positive involvement during an Employability Day at Halfords. Tom has previously stated his ultimate goal is to own a motor garage.”

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Year group: 11
% of DRW sessions attended: 96%
School attendance: 96%
Number of employability days attended: 3 - Halfords Days
Number of tournaments attended: 3

Tom is currently a Y11 student at Countesthorpe Leysland Community College in Leicester. He has been involved with Dallaglio RugbyWorks since our first taster session with the school in the summer of 2017 when he was a YR9 student. Tom lives with his mother, step-dad and older brother and is conveniently located just 5 minutes from the school. Tom appears to have fairly adept social skills and is seen to be a popular character amongst his peers.

Tom appears to lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle choosing to stay in bed until the last minute before school starts. He opts not to participate in any physical exercise or sport outside of school additional to his Rugby Works sessions. Primarily his free time is spent playing electronic and X-Box games. It is evident since our initial contact with Tom he has had a noticeable weight gain and subsequently struggles to maintain momentum and keep up with his peers during practical activities. Although there is no tangible evidence, it is possible this has affected his confidence and could be a contributing factor to his lower scores recorded for communication and fairly hostile change in body language.

A particular highlight for Tom (and the East Midlands region!) was his positive involvement during an Employability Day at Halfords. Tom has previously stated his ultimate goal is to own a motor garage. However he had limited experience in the trade and was not accepted on the Vehicle Maintenance course at school. This decision lead to some resentment towards school. Tom's understanding is that the school deemed his grades to be 'too high' to qualify. During the lead up to the Halfords employability experience Tom was excited and eager to gain some 'real time hands-on' experience. On the day itself he surpassed all expectations; he was both enthusiastic and engaging throughout. Dallaglio RugbyWorks had arranged for Tom to spend time with the current Halfords Apprentices. It was so refreshing to witness Tom speaking so passionately and with genuine interest about the day's activities, alongside working hard to understand what the Halfords Apprenticeship scheme would entail.

Furthermore, of his own volition Tom approached the Halfords manager about the possibility of work experience with them.

This is an extremely encouraging leap forward and something we did not foresee at this stage.

Reviewing the outcome of the Employability Day with Tom, he was delighted with the experience and it has further strengthened his desire to own a motor garage in the future.

Tom has further recognised the in-depth level of knowledge, skills and experience that is required to competently operate and become a motor garage owner. Following the encouraging feedback from the Halfords team together with the positive portrayal of their apprenticeship scheme, Tom has successfully completed a further 3 work experience days with Halfords (supervised by DRW's). This is alongside both the consent and support of his Head Teacher ensuring this extra activity does not interfere with his current school timetable.

Succeeding the Employability Day, Tom has undertaken two further days' work experience with a local motor garage, which equally he enjoyed and gained a lot from.

Looking at Tom's Matrix Scores Tom it is progressing, however as previously mentioned his Communication score has declined mainly influenced by his Body Language. This dip in score seems to appear after the school holiday. Noticeably for Autonomy on Dosage 22 and Attitude on Dosage 17 – this pattern could possibly be due to sessions being held on a Monday, therefore finding it a little more challenging to establish a structured routine again if still adjusting from the weekend break.

To support Tom's progression, we intend to work closely with the school to facilitate further work experience to take place at Halfords. Furthermore during sessions, our main focus will be to encourage Tom to remain active alongside keeping him interested and engaged. Tom is now on the countdown to finishing school. It is our intent to help develop his confidence and support his progression in communication skills.

Tom turns 16 in December and will no longer require a chaperone for his visits to Halfords. From this point onward it has been agreed with both Halfords and the school to increase Tom's time with them and he will attend work experience with Halfords weekly.

“Alex would keep himself away from others, isolating him from the group. Speaking to teachers in the school I was having similar reports and in some cases teachers were saying Alex had been totally excluded from social groups.”

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Alex who is in Ferndale community school started on the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme September 2016 at this point he was in year 10, he was a very quiet young person with very low self-esteem. Alex would keep himself away from others, isolating him from the group. Speaking to teachers in the school I was having similar reports and in some cases teachers were saying Alex had been totally excluded from social groups.

In the early months of 2017 I could see a small change in himself becoming more engaged into practical sessions and showing more of an interest into classroom activities, thus creating friends within the Dallaglio RugbyWorks social group. Starting in the new academic year Alex seemed to be in old ways, but as time went on it was if he had taken on a new role. Taking leadership of the group in practical session and setting an example with his attitude towards classroom activities committing to everything we do. On observation in Dallaglio RugbyWorks sessions and speaking to teachers we feel that's Alex's scores within the coaches' diaries have increased especially with communication and confidence.

As the 2016 – 2017 academic year was coming to an end and the year 11 students had left school, I had a chat with the year 10 young people from Ferndale before the new young people joined the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme. Talking about the new roles and responsibilities they are going to have to take on showing the new young people how commit to the programme and school. In the new academic year Connor and myself ran different classroom activities with the aim of self-confidence and communication. Two classroom activities I found have worked well for Alex is Speed dating – where the young people are separated into two different groups one group asking questions and the other answering. Questions are provided by Connor and myself, the questions are aimed for the young person to feel comfortable talking people about topics which they wouldn't normally talk about to other. The other is Maze runner – the group are put into partners, both young people begin at the start one is the blind folded and the other must direct the blind folded young person through the maze obtained an object on the other side of the maze and be directed back whilst being timed, the fastest time wins. I feel that both activities concentrate on communication and improving their communication skills, but at the same time having the student lead another student it is giving the confidence in themselves.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy memorable experiences and build valuable life skills, so we’re pleased to support these ongoing efforts to help improve the lives of young people in the North West.”

Jason Thomas, CEO of tappit

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Our session started like any other, we arrived at our afternoon session at New Horizons in Warrington, we signed in and proceeded round the back of the school to set up grids for the session and wait for the young people to arrive after their lunch.

The first young people arrive and immediately ask if they can get the balls out of the bag to practice their kicking and catching, completely ignoring the camera crew at the side of the pitch ready to film the session as today we were lucky enough to have two Bury FC players to participate in the session and conduct a Q & A at the end.

Eventually the rest of the cohort arrive and we split the group into two ready to start a game of touch rugby, being located in warrington, as massive rugby league town, this group of young people are one of our most able groups which allows us to play more games of rugby and let them show off their playing ability.

We were joined by two players from Bury FC ,Andrew Tutte and Christopher Sang, after standing off for a few minutes to observe and to have a chat to find out the rules of the game they got involved and played rugby with the group until we changed the game to football, a sport that they felt a lot more comfortable playing. To finish the session we went inside and Andrew and Christopher talked about the power of teamwork and self-belief and also spent time with students to share their experience in overcoming unexpected challenges and to answer questions that the young people had.

The session on Monday was a great lead in to the Wednesday session where we were lucky enough to have Tappit set up another fantastic experience for the young people, arranging for us to run a session at Bury FC’s Training ground at Carrington and to be joined by two more players Jermaine Beckford and Danny Mayor.

This session ran very similar to the first splitting the session in to two halves of Rugby and football, with the Jermaine and Danny taking part in the football session even though both of them were injured. This was a huge moment for the young people who all thoroughly enjoyed the session and took a huge amount from the experience.

Both Jason Thomas, CEO of tappit and Matt Hanson, Business Development Director at Bury FC understand the power of sport and the way it can change lives. Jason explained that “Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy memorable experiences and build valuable life skills, so we’re pleased to support these ongoing efforts to help improve the lives of young people in the North West.”

This was supported by Matt who added “Members of our squad have also encountered and had to overcome challenges, whether it be at school, managing injuries, or mental health issues, and we’re pleased if we can share these experiences to give something back to the community.”

watch tappit and Dallaglio RugbyWorks at Bury FC with New Horizons

"Given his starting point, Josh’s transformation during just one year of RugbyWorks has been enormous".

Tom, Bristol Coach, Dallaglio RugbyWorks

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“You can’t get me up here, can you?” These words, shouted down from the school roof, were the first our coaches heard from Josh. The tough challenge they knew lay ahead was underpinned by Josh’s chaotic home life as he bounced around different family members, never truly able to call anywhere home.

As a boy who’d experienced his share of empty promises, the reward-for-commitment ethos of RugbyWorks was tough for Josh to buy into. And despite being a gifted sportsman, rugby’s unfamiliarity was initially a barrier for him too. Josh’s coaches needed to work hard on developing his self-confidence. They improvised, bringing in tweaks from football and inventing hybrid sports that helped him slowly find his feet – and his voice.

Steadily, Josh’s trust in his coaches grew. Although things didn’t always go to plan – public failure amongst his peers was always traumatic – this emerging trust meant that, even when he vented and stormed off, Josh started to listen as his coaches calmed him down.

Given his starting point, Josh’s transformation during just one year of RugbyWorks has been enormous. As his coaches build on this early growth in year two, they’re hoping Josh fulfils his promise to become the group role model they know he can be.

"Whether in group sessions or at a successful Employability Day with Bidfood, Dan became an example for others to follow".

Lindsay, Newcastle Coach, Dallaglio RugbyWorks

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Dan first came to us in 2015 as a Year 10 student. Back then, his tendency to let frustrations boil over and to lash out at peers and staff was holding back his talent for sport. Patience was crucial. Dan’s coaches listened and slowly helped him manage his anger.

Something big happened for Dan as he joined us for year two: he signed up with a local rugby club. Suddenly, he was excited to come to RugbyWorks and share everything he learned there. His coaches quickly spotted the change and handed Dan greater leadership, allowing his confidence to flourish.

It wasn’t long before a proud Dan led his school out onto Wasps’ Ricoh Arena pitch for the RugbyWorks National Tournament. It turned into a tough day for his team but, whereas his teammates would once have feared his outbursts, they now gravitated towards him to provide a calm and supportive presence.

His leadership on that day was indicative of Dan’s growth during two years of RugbyWorks. Whether in group sessions or at a successful Employability Day with Bidfood, he had become an example for others to follow. It’s a thrill to know that Dan achieved the grades he needed and has now moved on, studying Construction at college and building a bright future for himself.

"Under her own admission, Abi had a lot of aggression when she started RugbyWorks and the sessions helped her to release this each week. Despite her struggles, she threw herself into everything and began to focus on the future which culminated in her winning the Most Improved Young Person at our 2016 Awards. I’m so pleased that Abi has secured her apprenticeship – she has a real talent and a bright future ahead of her".

Will, London Coach, Dallaglio RugbyWorks

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Having joined RugbyWorks in 2014, Abigail is one of our first young people to complete the programme’s newly added third year of one-on-one mentoring. You may remember her case study in last year’s report.

Initially shy yet angry, Abigail worked hard to control her emotions during the first two years, while her coaches gently encouraged her passion for jewellery-making. In 2016, her dreams were realised as she became an apprentice at Goldsmiths, the UK’s largest quality jeweller.

Since then, Abigail and her coach have continued to work together to develop her self-belief, including taking to the stage to talk in front of 600 guests at RugbyWorks’ prestigious 8Rocks event – a daunting moment for anyone.

Abigail’s career is blooming at Goldsmiths, she’s running workshops for the public and she’s just displayed her designs at a three-week arts fair. As she looks to the future and plans her own successful jewellery range, her school challenges are now distant, if painful, memories. But it’s not the end of her RugbyWorks relationship. Abigail’s just received her very first commission: a wedding ring for her coach and mentor.

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