Service users from Autism Together had the opportunity last month to train with top rugby union team the Sale Sharks, in their mixed ability rugby sessions.
The training encourages social inclusion by mixing non-disabled and disabled players aged 17 years or older, and provides a rugby playing opportunity for individuals who may otherwise not be able to get involved.
The seven service users involved are working towards their Mencap Bronze Gateway Award, and the rugby sessions will count towards the fitness section of the programme. The award is aimed for the participants to try new opportunities and learn new skills, and takes one year to complete.
Neil Murphy, activity manager at Autism Together, said:
“Our service users from community development really enjoyed the training sessions with the Sale Sharks rugby coaches hosted at the fantastic facilities at the Hive Sports Hall in Birkenhead. They learnt a variety of rugby skills, including passing, catching, movement and team work. It was great to join up with such a fantastic rugby club to give our service users this opportunity.”
Sale Sharks mixed ability rugby
Vicky Irwin, inclusion officer at Sale Sharks mixed ability rugby, contacted the charity initially to set up the sessions.
On completion of the sessions she said:
“Mixed ability rugby provides a rugby playing opportunity for individuals with a disability or additional need. This is a focus of our disability and inclusive rugby programme ‘In the Pack’ in which we work towards getting more people, more active in a more inclusive way. The sessions went really well; it was fantastic to see everyone get involved with many taking part in rugby for the first time. We are excited to deliver further sessions and hopefully grow the interest of rugby within the Autism Together organisation”.
For more information on Disability and Inclusive Rugby Opportunities or to find out more about the work of the Sharks Community Trust, visit www.salesharks.com/community.