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Camden and Hackney young people take rugby to Zambia

06 December 2012

  • RFU, Tag Rugby Trust and London Youth working together
  • Long-term unemployed helping to build futures through rugby
Tag Rugby Trust in Zambia

Photo: RFU Archive

In a flagship domestic initiative, the Tag Rugby Trust (TRT) has just completed a project in Zambia with inner-city youth from London boroughs Camden and Hackney.

The ‘Rebels and Titans’ programme, in partnership with the Rugby Football Union and the London Youth organisation, involved participants aged 17 to 22 from Coram’s Fields and Hackney Quest youth clubs.

In a first for the charity, the UK participants were long-term unemployed or from areas of urban deprivation.

The Rebels and Titans were completely new to the game – and some had their doubts. Rebecca Aderotimi, 17, said: “I hated sports, did not like rugby, but now I love rugby and want to be a coach!”

The trip included infrastructure projects such as school renovation and distribution of donations, but it was the rugby that really left its mark: “The day we led the tournament was the best day of my life,” said Alex Correia, 21.

“Seeing the children’s emotions, smiles and passion was a speechless moment. I think that day summed up the whole project: hard work pays off!”

Trevor Martingell of the TRT said: “Over 18 months, the Rebels and Titans have come from a non-rugby background to running tag rugby sessions and tournaments in Zambia’s poorest schools and townships.”

John Jones of London Youth said: “The scheme was never just going to be about the game. True to TRT’s motto of ‘building futures through rugby’ our partnership with them has provided memories and life-changing experiences for us all. 

“As well as a rugby education, we’ve also provided qualifications and opportunities to learn about fundraising, youth work and public speaking, and the young people are now using these in their journey as young adults into further education or employment.”

Pete Ward, Social Responsibility Officer for the RFU, said: “We are delighted and proud to be involved in a project with this level of impact and ambition. The legacy it leaves with participants home and abroad, in some of the country’s most deprived boroughs and the world’s most deprived countries, is considerable and impressive.”