Wed, 07 Oct 2020

Since becoming the founding partner of Dallaglio RugbyWorks in the West Midlands in October 2018, we’ve been supporting the charity in its mission to help young people who have been excluded from mainstream education.

Using the values of rugby, the charity teaches these young people a range of essential life skills, and provides the structure and support they need to get into sustained education, training or employment.

As part of BNP Paribas’ ‘Summer of Sport’ campaign exploring how sport can be used to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we invited colleagues across all BNP Paribas UK businesses to hear from England rugby legend and RugbyWorks founder Laurence Dallaglio.

Speaking to Jayne Licari, Head of Brand & External Communications at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK, Dallaglio shared his own experiences of the power of sport and explained how rugby and its values helped him when he was growing up.

He said: “The game of rugby genuinely helped me turn my life around, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why I’m so passionate about using sport to help young people who’ve experienced some form of hardship.”

Growing up, Lawrence suffered a considerable loss in his life. Joining Wasps Rugby Club helped him refocus and find purpose once again.

He explained: “I was a young person going through a difficult period in my life, and I needed something to change that narrative. Rugby for me became a force for good, and I’ve experienced first-hand the power the game has and the opportunities it can give you.”

Unfortunately, due to social, economic or personal circumstances, many young people across the country lack the support they need to thrive. 

The Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme utilises the power of sport to provide this structure for those who need it most, offering a much-needed support system and helping the students to gain valuable life skills while still having fun. 

Lawrence says: “If I had to pinpoint two things in my childhood that helped me achieve the things I have, they would be unconditional love and the belief system that I could go out and conquer the world.

“Unfortunately, many young people don’t have this foundation in their home lives, so we hope to replicate this and provide the guidance and motivation they need to get back into sustained work or education.”

The impact of the Coronavirus crisis has also had a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of many young people involved in the Dallaglio Rugby Works programme.

Dallaglio commented: “Many of the young people we work with were already in a difficult place at the beginning of the pandemic, and the last six months have significantly impacted them.”

The biggest challenge for the charity has been keeping in contact with the young people on the programme and continuously adapting to changing circumstances, and the team have worked hard to maintain a sense of structure for the students throughout.

Across the UK, there has also been a significant rise in mental health conditions over the last few years, and the RugbyWorks team recognises this as another concern for their students.

Lawrence explained: “Mental health is a huge issue with one in four people in the UK suffering from it in some form, and I know that this number dramatically increases when we’re talking about the young people we work with.”

The link between exercise and physical and mental wellbeing makes the work that Dallaglio RugbyWorks does even more important.

On the most valuable life skills that rugby has taught him, Lawrence said: “Rugby gave me a sense of belonging and self-belief, and the values that that I’ve learnt from the sport, such as respect, goal-setting, teamwork and leadership, have helped me both on and off the pitch.”

This is something that shines through in the lessons the charity teaches its students, and is one of the reasons we’ve been so passionate about supporting the work they do.

Lawrence says: “We really appreciate the support from our partners like BNP Paribas Personal Finance, to help change the lives of so many young people.”

There are so many similarities between a successful sports team and a successful business, and there are a number of common values that help drive success. We’re incredibly proud of our partnership with Dallaglio RugbyWorks, and we share a powerful goal to help change the lives of young people for the better.

To find out more about Dallaglio RugbyWorks and how you can support the brilliant work they’re doing, visit the charity’s website.