Henley Rugby Club have launched a Player Reach Out Programme (PROP) to encourage more school children to take up rugby.
In primary schools, Henley Rugby Club have part funded Chris Ellison from Performance Sports to offer two sessions a week for 12 weeks for children in Years 1 and 2 from September 2017. Already signed up are Trinity, Sacred Heart and Badgemore Schools in Henley. As well as skills development, confidence building and game understanding all the coaching team will introduce the RFU’s core values – TREDS (Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship). Chris said, “The highlight of the scheme will be in week 10 where we aim to host a tag rugby festival at Henley Rugby Football Club and for many children this will be their first taste of competitive tag rugby. This will allow an opportunity for all schools in the Henley area to come together and participate in a tag rugby festival in a fun and enjoyable setting taking advantage of the superb facilities the rugby club has on offer.”
At Gillotts, HRFC are fully funding Tommy Haynes, a first team Hawks player and academy coach to come to the school four times a week to support lessons and help at lunchtime rugby clubs for Years 7 and 8.
Nick Bradbury, who originated the scheme, said “We identified some things we weren’t doing at the club and one of which was we needed to have more involvement with schools locally. We think we have an amazing facility now at Henley Rugby Club and want to make sure that as many children have the opportunity to come down and see it.”
We are focusing on Years 7 & 8 at Gillotts because those are gaps in these age groups we have at the club. We want to encourage people who may have never tried rugby before. Luke Harding (Head of Rugby) at Gillotts told us that they have lots of children coming to the lunch time clubs and we thought it would be a fantastic opportunity for Tommy to help him identify students with potential to come and join the club. If we identified 3-5 players every year it would be mean that the all our age groups would be able to put out a team each week. We also want to look at extending the ‘Friday Nights” matches against Shiplake College too. Henley Rugby Club is really keen to do this and really make it work and we’d like to thank Gillotts.”
Catharine Darnton, Gillotts Headteacher said, “We really pleased to form this partnership as we recognise that as a relatively small secondary school, we can’t offer everything for all of our students. We are so incredibly lucky in Henley to have so many other offers around. Whether it is music, drama, sports there are great places to signpost people on. It makes total sense for us as a school to do as much as we can given our size and resources to foster those links outside as the sky is the limit if the students get themselves out there.
Report and Picture courtesy of Michaela Clarke from The Henley Herald.