RUGBY lessons which include helping primary school children stay safe on the streets will be expanded across the city.

The lessons, which are run by The Change Foundation as part of their Rugby4Change scheme, started at St Mark’s Primary School in Manor Road, Brighton, last term but is now expanding to four other primary schools in the city.

Funding from the Fonthill Foundation, an education charity, meant that the classes could be offered to other schools too.

The lessons, which are for boys and girls, introduce discussions about issues such as “knife crime, gang membership, and the county lines drug problem”.

Henry Glynn, The Change Foundation’s head of programmes, said: “Rugby is the vehicle for introducing discussions about issues such as knife crime, gang membership and the ‘county lines’ drug problem.

“Our coaches use the skills and ethos of the game to bring to life for the children the consequences of certain actions and the importance of making positive choices and staying safe on the streets.

“Most young people don’t actively go out to become a ‘gang member’ and many end up connected to a gang without really realising they are and without fully understanding the consequences.’’

“We create games and scenarios where personal responsibility, leadership and teamwork are layered in through the sport. An obvious starting point is a discussion about the positive feelings of belonging to a team, which are not unlike those sought by people looking to be part of a gang.”

The Argus: The lessons are for boys and girlsThe lessons are for boys and girls

Ceetah Grieves, CEO of the Fonthill Foundation, said it was good to tackle some of the “most persistent social issues” of our day.

She said: ‘’We are thrilled to support the expansion of The Change Foundation’s exemplary work in our local area to help schools tackle some of the most persistent social issues of our day. Their Rugby4Change programme is a brilliant and carefully crafted mix of outdoor sporting fun, alongside the delivery of some key life skills.’’

As the programme expands throughout early 2022, all of the schools involved will be invited to take part in the first Rugby4Change Festival, scheduled for May, and to be held in Brighton.

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