So far this season, The Harlequins Foundation and The Metropolitan Police TaskForce have been working in partnership to support local young people to engage in sport and build stronger links between communities and their local police officers.
Since the beginning of the school year, the team have visited over 2000 local young people at risk of engaging in youth crime & violence and have used rugby as a vehicle to strengthen their relationships with The Met Police.
The Harlequins Foundation’s Inclusion Manager, Matthew Williams commented, “Rugby is the perfect sport to engage disaffected young people who find themselves at risk of involvement in youth violence and gang crime. We’ve been hugely impressed by how well these young people have taken to a new sport, and how it’s enabled them to develop key skills such as teamwork and respect as well as boosting their self esteem and ambitions.”
Each week, Taskforce officers and Harlequins Foundation coaches have been busy putting pupils through their paces on the sports pitch as well as engaging them in a number of issue-based workshops such as; Stop-and-Search role plays, Emergency First Aid and Raising Awareness of Avenues for Support.
The Taskforce’s Engagement & Diversion Seargent, Chris Bright, added “We’ve been overwhelmed by just how successful the season has been so far for our partnership work with The Harlequins Foundation. Through Rugby we’ve been able to overcome a number of barriers that have often prevented young people from engaging positively with the police previously.
In the new year, the team hope to develop this partnership and pilot a brand new programme, ‘Quingage’, across South & West London and support even more young people to access engaging sporting opportunities in their local communities. If you’d like to find out more about how you could support the programme, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.