“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

"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.

"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.

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