RFU to roll out CBRE All Schools in ten London boroughs after Hounslow success

A rugby scheme that has inspired young Muslims from across Hounslow to take up the sport and join clubs in their area has been so successful it is being rolled out across the capital.

The CBRE All Schools programme was launched in 2012 in partnership with the RFU to give pupils who had never had an opportunity to play rugby the chance to get involved.

And it has been such a hit at Cranford Community College a whole generation of Muslim rugby players have been created, with the blueprint to be mirrored across ten other boroughs around London.

“A big part of our role is to broaden rugby’s reach into our community,” said Ty Sterry, the RFU’S Middlesex rugby development officer.

“Cranford Community College was identified as a school that would be ideal for the CBRE All Schools programme.

“We’ve probably got more activity going on in that borough in the last six weeks than we have had in the last three years because of the community’s backing.”

Teachers at Cranford Community College reached out to the nearby Darussalam Mosque to find out how they could engage young people who might otherwise be put off playing an unfamiliar sport, with lack of parental support given as one of the reasons students weren’t staying active.

“It’s a game that has many things in common with Islamic beliefs,” said mosque chair of trustees Sahel Ali.

“It is a game of discipline and respect, and Islam also teaches respect and discipline. I think what you are doing will benefit generations to come.

“This is the first sport that has managed to get in touch with the Muslim community, and remember, they came into the mosques and Islamic centres, and they started to talk to the Muslims in a way that made them feel very valued, listened to, and welcome.”

Organisers hope to attract up to 200 new players to the game from the Muslim community by creating ten teams to play seven-a-side games based on work the RFU is already doing with the Somali community in the area through the Somali 7s.

“There are a lot of Somalians out there who don’t play, they only play football and no one is interested in rugby,” said Somali 7s player Mohamed Adow.

“Thanks to CBRE All Schools and the community, there are a lot of Somalians around us right now playing rugby.”

During the 2014/2015 season more than 130,000 students experienced rugby with 20,000 of those going on to became regular participants through involvement with the programme.

In addition, there were 5,680 competitive matches organised between schools in the programme, with more than 3,500 teachers and young leaders taking rugby related courses.

Alan Fraser, Cranford Community College headteacher, said: “We have tried previously to get rugby going as a sport here at the school, but unfortunately, it never managed to take off.

“And then we got invited to take part in the CBRE All Schools programme, and the students have absolutely loved it.

“There was great enthusiasm from the start, because obviously that is very important as well, and it has gone on to be the most popular sport in the school, overtaking football, and we’re really pleased with the way it has gone.

“The enthusiasm from the children and them wanting to go on to play club rugby has enabled us to work with Mr Ali to engage with parents and take the sport beyond the school curriculum and into the community.”

England Rugby’s CBRE All Schools is a nationwide programme designed to create a sustained celebration of rugby and a lasting legacy for school children, schools and communities. By 2019 CBRE All Schools aims to reach one million children who don’t currently play rugby.

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