I would like to offer my thanks and huge gratitude to Blackheath RFC for the equipment you have donated to help my Community Interest Company, Single-Step.
If you don’t mind, I would like to provide a bit of background around how Blackheath RFC came to help me with my dream of bringing rugby to young people who, on the whole, have never even picked up a rugby ball before.
You may recall that you published the news that my lifelong friend and former Blackheath RFC player, Phil Hogsett passed away suddenly last October. Knowing how much Blackheath meant to Phil, I was immediately in contact with Rory to inform him of the sad news and also to ensure that I included Blackheath RFC in the eulogy that I had to deliver in Northern Ireland, where Phil was then living, the following week. Rory knew Phil and, like me, knew first hand what an outstanding rugby player and HUGELY social guy he was. I have truly never met another human being who had a bad word to say about Phil, I miss him terribly.
Since retiring from the police last year I set up my own CIC Non-profit making company called Single-Step, which aims to rehabilitate young offenders in custody and the community. I am now working inside Cookham Wood YOI and as part of my work I have started delivering rugby sessions to the inmates who are aged 14-18. My aim is to get them interested in our great game and importantly, understand how the values of rugby can cross over into daily life. Upon release I am looking to introduce them to local clubs so they can continue their ‘rugby journey’. I can already see some quite incredible talent and only yesterday, I was talking to a young person inside a Young Offenders Institute who was a member of his local club when he became distracted by the wrong group of individuals who led him into a life of crime. The hairs stood up on my arms yesterday when he told me of how his coach, recognising that he was straying into a journey that was only going to end as it has done, pleaded with him and his parents to get back on the field. Sadly, only now does he recognise that had he listened to him then he would not now be having his rugby delivered behind fences but instead, at a local rugby club. The reason I mention this is because it’s a first hand account of how incredible rugby is and how its core values are not missed on young people.
I am a one-man-band and I have literally no funding whatsoever at the moment and so quite simply, I do not have the funds to purchase equipment. That is why, through the sad news I mentioned, I made contact with Rory to see if Blackheath RFC could help with any used equipment such as tackle pads / tackle bags / tackle suits / balls / cones, basically anything that they might be able to donate in order to help me bring our great sport to those I mentioned.
Rory responded immediately and was clearly more than happy to help support this community based work and through Albert, a delivery of equipment followed.
For me this huge generosity from Blackheath RFC is amazing for a number of reasons. Firstly, in real terms it helps me do what I love doing, promoting our great game to those who, in reality, are very unlikely to become involved and experience all that rugby has to offer, secondly, it shows how important the community projects are to Blackheath RFC and thirdly, and for me personally, the fact that Phil’s old club, which he spoke of constantly, have now donated this equipment which comes from a relationship formed from his passing and so, for me, part of Phil lives on in these pads and balls.
I apologise for the lengthy email but this is far more than Blackheath RFC providing me with this amazing kit, but the story behind it is why we all love this game so much.
Please do pass on my thanks to the club as a whole and publish my email on your website or wherever you deem appropriate to demonstrate what The Club are doing for their local communities,
With kindest regards
If you would like to more about Gary’s company, Single-Step CIC you can reach him on his LinkedIn Page here