Dallaglio RugbyWorks (a skills development programme which aims to get teenagers into sustained education) has been greatly affected by the blanket school closures announced in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the founding partner of the charity’s work in the West Midlands, we’ve provided additional funds to Dallaglio RugbyWorks as part of our COVID-19 relief efforts, with the aim of helping the charity to continue its brilliant work through this difficult time.
To find out more about how the charity is working behind the scenes to support vulnerable young people, we sat down with Sarah Mortiboys, Head of Programme and Impact at Dallaglio RugbyWorks, to discuss life after lockdown and how they’re planning on tackling the imminent education crisis.
Sarah explains: “PRU’s across the country have seen a 95% decrease in attendance amongst pupils who are still eligible to attend classes during lockdown, and as most of these young people already have a negative relationship with education, the long-term effects of this unprecedented situation are yet to be seen.
“Despite having to temporarily pause our day-to-day operations, we know that as we come out the other side of this crisis the work we do with vulnerable young people will be needed more than ever before. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to keep our students engaged with the programme whilst simultaneously preparing for the ‘new normal’ we’ll be returning to.”
In the short term, the biggest challenge for the charity has been keeping contact with the young people on the programme.
Because of safeguarding, Dallaglio RugbyWorks can only contact their students via their school network. To tackle this loss of contact, the team devised the Keep Rugby Working campaign, which allows their coaches to deliver digital content to students via social media, focusing on keeping fit both mentally and physically.
Sarah says: “These short bursts of social content are being delivered by the young people’s coaches, who they have already built a trusting bond with through the programme.
“Keeping the students motivated throughout lockdown is vital for the success of their futures, and we’re doing everything we can to prevent the progress they’ve made becoming undone in this challenging time.”
The charity has also used this time to reflect on their successes so far, and look at how they can build on what they’ve already achieved to develop a new and improved programme when society returns to ‘normal’.
Sarah explained: “One of the things this crisis has really highlighted is the challenges many of our young people face in their personal lives.
“Moving forward, we want to put an even bigger focus on all of the influences in these young people’s lives, and although we’re just one small part of their world, if we can gain a deeper insight into the rest of their lives it will stand us in good stead to make a real and impactful difference.
“In terms of life after lockdown, we sadly expect to see a huge spike in unemployment amongst young people, so programmes like ours will be vital in terms of helping them to develop the skills they need to become more employable.
“The support of businesses like BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK will be crucial in helping us to achieve this goal, and we can’t wait to help them on their path to success as we work to kick youth unemployment into touch.”
To find out more about Dallaglio RugbyWorks campaign to keep rugby working during this challenging time, visit https://www.dallagliorugbyworks.com/keeprugbyworking