Northampton Saints RFC and IMAS (International Mixed Ability Sports) are working with Cambridge Rugby Club to bring Mixed Ability Rugby to the area. Mixed Ability sports are mainstream sports that include a variety of playing abilities and both disabled and non-disabled participants. The focus is on a welcoming team environment and social training that allows everyone to play to the best of their ability. Unlike traditional inclusive provision the focus of all Mixed Ability activities is sustainability and ensuring a mainstream offer embedded within a grassroots club, they aim to create a team that will exist long after IMAS has moved away from the club.
On the 9th May at 2pm they be delivering a presentation at Cambridge Rugby club to local groups and current members with a view to getting sessions started. This will include current players who have learning disabilities explaining how they got involved and the benefits they’ve got from participating. Coaches from Northampton Saints will also be attending as they will be assisting with the practical delivery at the club. The sessions are for participants aged 14+, as the team progresses touch rugby fixtures will be organised (14+) and contact rugby fixtures (17+).
What is mixed ability rugby?
Anyone playing with a team can’t help a smile creeping onto their face when talking about it. For those who have experienced it on the pitch, it’s a very simple concept – just another rugby team!
Mixed Ability is a worldwide movement spearheaded by International Mixed Ability Sports (IMAS). IMAS has its roots in Bradford, home to the first English Mixed Ability rugby team. IMAS works to spread the idea of Mixed Ability around the rugby world and transfer it to other sports.
For those who haven’t experienced it first hand, the best way to describe it is just another rugby team! It is not a disability team, players are not classified by physical or intellectual disability or barriers. It is a team open to anyone who wants to play regular rugby. If you happen to have some form of disability or barrier but want to play regular rugby, then mixed ability rugby is for you. The same goes if you have no disability or barrier. Have a look at this video to see mixed ability rugby in action
What is Project Rugby?
Project Rugby is a joint initiative between Premiership Rugby and England Rugby designed to increase participation in the game by people from traditionally underrepresented groups:
Black Asian & Minority Ethnic People, People from Lower Socio-Economic backgrounds (top 30% IMD) and Disabled People
The programme will engage thousands of participants per year (aged 14+ and 16+ for disabled people) and will be delivered by community staff from Premiership Rugby’s 14 shareholder clubs at over 200 locations across England, providing accessible opportunities for people to participate in the game at a time and place that can be easily accessed by target audiences.
How can you get involved?
In conjunction with Northampton Saints Cambridge RUFC will be running engagement programmes for local groups, schools and colleges at a time and place suitable to the individual group. The sessions are fully inclusive and focussed on inclusive physical activities and rugby training. After the engagement sessions participants who would like to transition in to the local mixed ability team at Cambridge RUFC will be invited along to a transition event with the club supported by Community Coaches.
After the transition evening, participants are then able to continue to train and play alongside other mixed ability players within the team and become part of Cambridgeshire’s First Mixed Ability Rugby team. We will be running an information event at Cambridge Rugby Club, Grantchester Road, Cambridge CB3 9ED on Thursday 9th May at 2pm, with a presentation from Mike Hawkes of IMAS (International Mixed Ability Sports).
If you would like to attend on the 9th May or would like further information on this initiative contact Jamie Higgins JamieHiggins@Northamptonsaints.co.uk