Community Team delighted and 'grateful' to be back

Community Team delighted and 'grateful' to be back

Get the latest from Edinburgh Rugby Community Manager Ruaridh Pye as he discusses the Community Teams's gratitude in being allowed back in schools and how rugby continues to play an important role for children in the path to normality.

Ruaridh – yourself and Community Coach Andy Whitelaw have been back out in the local community, taking sessions and bringing Edinburgh Rugby to kids across the city – can you update us on what you’ve been up to this past month?

We are grateful and fortunate, that whilst most curriculum rugby activity is still on hold, we have been able to continue our work within the Community due to the longstanding partnership agreement between The City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh Rugby.

Over the past few months we have been delivering a block of rugby to assist in the return of children to our local schools.

This most recent bout of delivery has seen us return to Fox Covert (previously delivered in St Andrew’s Primary School), and Clermiston Primary School.

Our primary efforts were to support the school(s) by means of physical activity, helping to promote healthy, active minds.

Whilst the pandemic is still very much part of our everyday lives, the health and wellbeing of our children is paramount and physical activity such as rugby is a great vehicle to help achieve this.

Society as a whole has been greatly affected by the pandemic and our education system has been hit hard, not only by the lack of time in class, but also the everyday social interactions our kids enjoy when attending school.

Our delivery over the past few months has really highlighted the importance of health and wellbeing, social interactions and physical literacy within our education system and as we all know, Rugby is a great vehicle to address these issues.

How have kids reacted to getting back outside and taking part in organised sport once again after what has undoubtedly been a tough three-month period?

The kids have loved it. As have Andrew and I. To pump up the balls and dust down the equipment is a positive step in the right direction and has been long awaited.

To do what we love and pass on that enthusiasm seems to have been infectious. There appears to have been a mindset change from what in the past may have seemed a chore to some youngsters, to every member of every class (including the teachers and senior staff) being excited, ready and willing to take part, shows how welcome our presence has been in the schools.

We have also been able to provide the all-important pathways for those who wish to continue with rugby by providing information on the local clubs, so the benefits have been even greater.

How far along the path to normality is rugby and what are the next steps to take for you as a community team?

We are quietly optimistic that everything is moving in the right direction, as long as we continue to listen and adhere to government guidelines.

The next steps for us are to kick on and hopefully re-launch some of our other programmes, namely the ‘prosper programme’ post Easter, our homeless programme and our new inclusive rugby programme.

How cautious are you still as a community team with regards to covid and what measures have you got in place when taking sessions or dealing with kids?

We are extremely cautious, we have to be to instil the confidence that what we are doing meets and exceeds what people attending our sessions expect.

We carry out risk assessments, wear face-coverings, gloves, sanitise equipment before and after each session, adhere to social distancing and take twice weekly lateral flow tests.

As a community team, how exciting is the new stadium and how much are you looking forward to getting kids involved and playing rugby in our new home when the time comes?

The Community Team are super excited about the new stadium, to have our ‘own home’ is something the club has waiting a long time for.

We can’t wait to see the stadium full, hear the atmosphere and of course integrate the new stadium into the community.

Whilst we call it our ‘own home’, it is more like ‘our home’, we hope that means home to every community linked to Edinburgh Rugby.

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