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Social Inclusion Toolkit

13 August 2002

Quadruple Olympian launches Ford Rugbywise Toolkit


Dame Mary Glen Haig, the four-times Olympian who also participated in three Commonwealth Games, today helped launch a Rugbywise Toolkit to enable all young people to play rugby.

Dame Mary MBE was at Sale Sharks Rugby Club along with five-times World Karate Champion Geoff Thompson MBE and Rugby Football Union Senior Vice-President Robert Horner for the unveiling of the Ford-sponsored Toolkit.

The Toolkit will help ensure that young people playing rugby are not discriminated against on the basis of social background, age, gender, disability, race, religion or sexuality.

A double Commonwealth fencing gold medallist in 1950 and 1954, Dame Mary is the President of the Trustees of the Youth Charter for Sport, with whom the RFU have produced the Toolkit.

"Rugby can be a vehicle for social change because it is such a great team game for people of all abilities," said Dame Mary, who is also a Commonwealth Games Federation Vice-President.

The Social Inclusion seminar, held just days before the Rugby Sevens tournament kicks off at the City of Manchester Stadium, contained a range of workshops including working in inner cities, with the disabled and ethnic minority groups.

Thompson, who has worked tirelessly on behalf of young people through the YCS which he founded, said: "When you have eight-year-olds who would prefer to have drugs as a currency rather than a ball in their hands then there is something seriously wrong with society. But rugby can make a difference. Sport is the most vital ingredient in bringing people together from different walks of life and cultures."

Available in filo-fax paper and CD Rom format, it has been created by the RFU's Community and Operations Department in conjunction with the 55 Rugby Development Managers and Officers, who work across England in ethnically and culturally diverse areas.

"This is an historic day and has been the result of 10 years' work," said Thompson. "This is not just about what we are doing here today - it's about affecting communities up and down the country.

"Equity is the right of every citizen, whatever their ability or disability, race or social background. The three Rs of the community are Respect, Recognition and Reward and if young people get those they will return them."

Funding for the Toolkit has been provided by Sportsmatch and Ford, whose, Director of Fleet Operations, Mike Wear, commented: "Ford has been delighted with the progress made in taking the Ford TAG Rugby Programme to schools throughout England and particularly to areas of social disadvantage. The Rugbywise Toolkit will help to advance the scope of Ford TAG Rugby and other RFU grassroots projects and help ensure that all community groups have the opportunity to participate in this fantastic team sport."

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