Mixed Ability Rugby began for us when some people who draw on MacIntyre's support expressed an interest in rugby. Pippa Bruckland, one of our Community Coordinators, began to shape the idea into something special.
We started by offering trial sessions as widely as possible to confirm people's interests, before establishing the team with the Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club.
The original team had five players, not even enough to field a full team. The photo is from those early days.
We now have a full team of 15 players plus subs attending (28 in total) from all local MacIntyre services.
Children and adults, along with people from NHS health recovery team referrals and ex-rugby players from the club all come along.
We are supported by Saracens Foundation and play in their Mixed Ability rugby festivals.
Locally the team is known as ‘Buzzard Hawks’. The club promotes MacIntyre’s work on their social media, match day brochures and pitch boards. They even gave us the club house and grounds for a recruitment day.
Seeing the development of the players has inspired two coaches to apply to work for MacIntyre, with other club members giving their time to support us.
Darryl, who is supported by MacIntyre, is studying to become a coach, and Martyn is training to be another first aider for the group.
Mixed Ability Rugby is amazing and brings out everyone’s confidence and creativity. It has brought me out of my comfort zone and with the support of the team I’ve grown in confidence and my abilities.
Breaking down barriers
This really is one of those success stories which has grown from a germ of an idea to a community enterprise which has a positive effect on the day-to-day lives of so many people. It's broken down barriers and helped people understand and help each other.
It's a true community where everyone is treated equally, everyone supports each other, and everyone gets to play the sport they love.