Rugby World Cup Winner’s Charity Supported

A pioneering charity set up by former England rugby World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio has been supported by the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Dallaglio RugbyWorks aims to help teenagers who are not in mainstream education to get into, and stay in, employment, training or education through a programme based on the values of rugby.

The Steve Morgan Foundation has provided a grant of £45,000 over three years to help Dallaglio RugbyWorks with their programme in a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) in Warrington.

CEO Rachel Roxburgh takes up the story of the background to Dallaglio RugbyWorks.

“The charity was set up by Lawrence after he retired from rugby, and had a very successful testimonial year,” says Rachel.

“He decided to consolidate his charitable activity and, as he continued to dedicate a lot of time to supporting charities, it made sense for him to set up a Foundation.

“It started off the in short term as a charity distributing grants, but as people became more and more supportive and generous, Lawrence decided he wanted to do something  which carried some real longevity.

“RugbyWorks was then set up, which is all about helping disengaged young people, and using the values of rugby to help them rediscover themselves and travel on the right path.

“Lawrence said rugby saved him as a youngster when he could have gone down the wrong path, and the support from rugby, along with his family, helped him intensely when his sister Francesca passed away in the Marchioness disaster.

“It is not about going out and delivering rugby programmes as the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and other organisations do that.

“It is about the values of the sport, and working with teenagers to help them, particularly those excluded from mainstream education.  One of the key elements of the programme is providing employability opportunities for our teenagers enabling us to develop a bespoke path to sustained education, employment or training for each young person on the programme.”

The charity has found that a particularly key age group are those young people between 14 and 16, and that building up positive working relationships over a long period of time is crucial.

“The charity works with 14 to 16 year-olds who have been permanently excluded from mainstream school, and we want to help them on a consistent basis and so are built into school curriculum,” added Rachel.

“Previously with so many of these young people, they might get help but then that help stops and they don’t have the chance to build up those positive consistent relationships over a sustained period of time.

“A two-year programme gives that opportunity, but even then young people may find it difficult at 16, where either going to college, or out into the big, wide world, can prove daunting.

“So we have made it a three-year programme giving that extra year to help them adapt and hopefully help them, via the values of rugby, to prepare for employment.

“When we go into schools and do coaching, teachers will also watch to see how the coaches interact with the young people.

“The result is often that there is an improvement in relationships with the regular teachers, and our feedback shows that both attendance and exam results have improved in the schools that we have worked in which is great to see.”

This additional funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation is helping Dallaglio RugbyWorks with its programme at the New Horizons School in Warrington.

That is one of a number of areas in which the charity is looking to develop and positively affect the lives of more and more teenagers.

“We are very appreciative of, and excited about, this funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation,” says Rachel.

“It is a three-year programme, and will help to improve outcomes in their education and employment.

“It is a small school where we usually work with nine students which is an ideal number as we have to keep numbers low to enjoy the best results, particularly as they have complex needs.

“The coaches can get the young people to open their minds to what they can achieve in the future, to have those aspirations and set goals for themselves.

“We also receive good support from local businesses and are also keen to explore the area of apprenticeships.

“A lot of the young people are keen on that, and would rather learn a profession than go to college, so that is another link we are keen to develop locally.”

To find out more about Dallaglio RugbyWorks, visit www.dallagliorugbyworks.com

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