Blackheath Rugby Charitable Trust

On Saturday 25 November Blackheath Rugby Club was delighted to welcome Year 3 and 4 squads from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School to show off their tag rugby skills in games against sides kindly provided by the Blackheath Rugby Minis Section. The games took place before the kick-off of the 1st XV game against RAMS, and the players then formed the guard of honour for the game itself. The children, teachers and parents were all invited to The Utilita, and the Club hopes that they enjoyed their day, and are encouraged to make many return visits to play for, and watch, the Club teams.

The school squads participated in the Primary School coaching programme organised by the Blackheath Rugby Charitable Trust. The programme’s aim is to introduce rugby to school children in South East London. The St Mary’s squads performed with distinction at the festival day run for all participating schools for the first term at Hervey Road in October.

The coaching provided by the Trust takes two forms. In primary schools, the coaching is provided during curriculum time for all students, both girls and boys, with coaches provided by the club, working with school staff, introducing the children to the skills and ethos of rugby. Our coaches go into schools for five weeks, spending a day each week working with Years 3, 4, 5 and 6. At the end of the period festivals are run at the Club’s ground at Hervey Road for all participants. Each pupil gets a medal and awards are given for performance and, most importantly, for  displaying the spirit of rugby. We are grateful for the help provided by Martin Worrow of Supreme Engraving and Trophies for his help in providing the trophies and medals.

In secondary schools, the Trust provides coaches to assist school staff in running after-school clubs, again for girls and boys. A festival day is held for all participating secondary schools in the Spring at Hervey Road, with the same focus on the spirit of rugby.

The Programme is now in its second year of operation, and has given over 2,000 Primary School children and over 200 Secondary School students a chance to try Rugby. It was set up by Habib Annous, Club stalwart and former player, in response to a desire to see the Club promoting the game in local schools, and forms part of the Club’s efforts to contribute positively to the local community. The coaching is provided by our team of coaches (Claire Wilkinson-Sharpe, Nick Wilkinson, Sam Evans and Phil Regan), and the trust thanks them for their professionalism, preparation and enthusiasm. The aims are to promote physical activity and promote resilience amongst children. Emphasis is given to the key values of rugby, being Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship.

Feedback from schools and participants has been extremely positive. Coaches have been praised for the preparation that has gone into the sessions, getting all children involved, and skill development. One school’s comments sum up the aims of the sessions “All the teachers and students had so much fun and took so much from the sessions! I couldn’t have asked for anything more.” We are also seeing the social benefit of the coaching, particularly in the more deprived areas of South-East London, which we will return to in a future programme.

We are continually on the lookout for new schools, both Primary and Secondary, to join the programme, so if you are keen for your children’s schools to provide Rugby coaching, please contact Habib Annous ( or Mike Stevenson (, who would be happy to talk to the schools.

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