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Project Rugby hands Kayden a lifeline

Commitment to helping youngsters in the community is at the heart of every club in Gallagher Premiership Rugby, and Bristol Bears like all of them do it with passion. It was here that Kayden Tucker became better equipped to step away from a negative past.

To provide more opportunities to experience rugby, the Bristol Bears work tirelessly with Premiership Rugby’s Project Rugby programme to engage participants in the sport from underrepresented groups including those with disabilities, those from diverse backgrounds and people from lower-social economic groups.

Project Rugby, which is run in partnership with Gallagher and the RFU, aims to increase participation through delivery of easily accessible sessions by community staff from each of Premiership Rugby’s 13 shareholder clubs, at more than 200 locations nationwide.

Bristol Bears are delighted to shine the spotlight on Kayden’s story during this season’s Community Weekend. All matches during round 21 of Gallagher Premiership Rugby (25-27 March) will be dedicated to Premiership Rugby’s award-winning community programmes, which benefit more than 250k people across England annually.

Kayden joined Project Rugby during year nine at school. He lives in a local community where crime is high and has had to deal with regular exposure to violent and threating situations, on occasions directed at him.

On first joining, Kayden struggled with the expectations from the coaches around rugby’s core values such as teamwork, respect and discipline. Slowly with positive encouragement from coaches and his peers, Kayden engaged and despite some early behavioural challenges he thrived. Fast forward, and Kayden has now joined his local rugby club Ashley Down and even started to take on leadership roles within the Project Rugby sessions.

His remarkable turnaround has also led to Kayden securing a part time job at a local café. So committed is Kayden to his sport, that he has learnt to juggle the demands of working with training ensuring he finishes shifts on time to organise himself to be attend. He even prioritises changing into a Bears shirt before he arrives! 

Rich Hynes, Project Rugby Lead Coach said: "Kayden is an individual I have a lot of respect for and someone I believe ticks every box around the value of Project Rugby and the impact it can have. He is engaged, enjoying learning, and developing on many levels through rugby. His self-confidence levels are high, and he is seen as a positive ‘leader’ rather than a ‘disruptor’ amongst his teammates which gains him more respect. “

Wayne Morris, Community & Corporate Social Responsibility Director at Premiership Rugby, said: “It is fantastic to hear Kayden’s story and to hear about the positive impact Project Rugby has had on him. He has chosen a different path in life due to his personal growth and development playing rugby.
 
“He shows exactly how important it was for Premiership Rugby to launch the programme and we are thankful for the vital support we have received from Gallagher, the RFU and of course our clubs, like Bristol Bears, who bring it to life.”

 

Scott Brown, Development Executive at Gallagher and club liaison for Bristol Bears, adds: “As title partner of Premiership Rugby, we’re incredibly proud that Project Rugby is playing such an important role in challenging existing perceptions of rugby, positioning the game as a sport for all, and supporting and encouraging promising young players such as Kayden.

“As well as the fact that rugby teaches young people important values such as trust, teamwork, respect and decision-making, the game can also have a very positive impact on their wellbeing, confidence, and resilience. That’s why it’s so important that the opportunity to play rugby is opened up to as many young people as possible, and it’s brilliant to see the huge strides Project Rugby is taking in doing so.”


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