England Rugby, in partnership with Activity Alliance, has launched a new Disability Action Plan to be developed over for the next three years.
Running from 2018-2021, the action plan sets out a series of interventions and partnerships, which aims to grow participation levels within club rugby, among players with different impairments.
It will enable constituent bodies to be more confident in providing rugby for disabled people, and it will monitor the positive physical and mental health impacts while aiming to be more proactive around player welfare concerns.
Steve Grainger, RFU rugby development director, said: “We believe that rugby is a sport for all, and to make absolutely sure that it is, the RFU wants to offer the warmest possible welcome to disabled people so that they can play and take part in our sport.”
“We want to remove any perceived barriers and to encourage real diversity and inclusion, with help and encouragement for players and coaches alike.
“A great deal of work is already going on in our clubs, and by building on this we hope to provide more opportunities nationwide. With the help of this plan, we look to convince more people that rugby is a sport for them.”
The plan has three key ambitions, the first being to change the perceptions of disabled people who think rugby is not a sport for them, and non-disabled people who think disabled people can’t be involved in rugby.
The second is to empower people who deliver rugby to feel as confident delivering to disabled people as they do to their non-disabled peers.
The third involves player safety and becoming more proactive in ensuring player safety for disabled participants. Conduct or commission research and development, and create partnerships with specialists within the sport for disabled people.
Barry Horne, chief executive of Activity Alliance, said: “Activity Alliance knows that being active in sport can be life changing for many disabled people.”
“I am particularly pleased to see the powerful commitment to changing perceptions about disabled people. This is an essential foundation for the other tangible steps.”