December the 6th was our Project Rugby festival, run in partnership with the Met Police. The event saw 140 boys and girls from across the Harlequins Heartlands come together to play touch rugby. Pupils took part in workshops centred around our programmes, that promote mental resilience, team work, and aiming high; and programmes supported by the Met Police, “Hard Calls Save Lives” and Fearless.org. Several VIPs were in attendance, including the Mayor of Richmond, Geoff Acton; local MPs, Sarah Olney and Munira Wilson; Richmond Superintendent, Jon McLoughlin; and even the Met Police’s own Dexter the wellbeing dog.
It was a great opportunity for us to support young people to get engaged with sport, as well as learning about the work the Met Police do in a fun, interactive environment. The festival was part of our work in delivering Project Rugby, a Premiership Rugby funded programme: providing young people with meaningful opportunities to engage in sport and connecting them to their local grassroots rugby club.
Inspector Chris Bright from the Central Engagement team at New Scotland Yard said: “we’re looking to break down barriers and build trust with our communities, in particular, our young Londoners. We want to build trust and confidence within the communities, and by utilising a platform such as this, we can build those relationships with our young people.”
Marc Leckie, Head of The Harlequins Foundation, said: “Project Rugby is really special because it’s a mechanism for us to reach kids who have never traditionally played the game. It’s really important for us as a club and as a sport to make sure we are representing the communities we serve.”
By connecting the Met Police with young people from across the Harlequins Heartlands, particularly those from underrepresented groups such as lower socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnic minority groups, Project Rugby seeks to create a space where everyone can enjoy sport and feel safe in their communities at the same time.
For more information on the work that The Metropolitan Police are doing in your community, head to their Twitter page @MPSCommunities.