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Inclusive rugby event in Plymouth proves successful

13 Jul 2016 16:28 | Sara Raine

DEVON RFU successfully held an inclusive rugby event for young people with physical, learning and emotional difficulties at Stonehouse Creek in Plymouth on Wednesday.

Four schools took part – Woodlands, Brook Green, Courtlands and Longcause – with around 40 pupils aged between 10 and 16 years old enjoying three hours of rugby activities organised by Devon RFU’s development officers and community coaches.

Originally the event was going to be just for youngsters with autism but Devon had so much interest that it was decided to expand it and also include young people with physical disabilities, visual impairments, oxygen-dependency and other types of learning difficulties.

The day certainly proved popular with pupils, teachers and coaches.

Katy Wedgwood, PE coordinator at Woodlands School, which is the lead inclusion school across Plymouth, said: “It’s great for young people to work with Devon RFU because they get to experience coaches outside their normal environment and they get to play with and against people from other schools and with a variety of needs.  It’s a chance for them to offer support and help to each other.”

Devon’s regional development officer Rob Masters said:  “We are sending a clear message that we want to make rugby inclusive.

“We want to support the game and show that anyone can play it no matter what ability, shape or size.

“The RFU’s inclusive project is working in Devon with deaf rugby and wheelchair rugby and we are now hoping to expand that. This started off with autism but we enlarged on that.

“This is just the start. Hopefully, there will be a longer programme thanks to the support of Devon RFU.”

He added: “It was a great day at Stonehouse Creek. It was good to see so many young people having fun with rugby no matter what their ability.”