This support will allow us to develop our offering both on and off the field; including a brand new playing kit, transport to fixtures and the running of education and employability workshops for players.
Working to establish a Dragons Homeless team has been challenging, yet hugely rewarding. Our aim is to provide opportunities for everyone to enjoy playing rugby through various forms of the game – a true ‘jersey for all’ approach.
Through our work with the team, we’re positively impacting on young people from hard-to-reach areas of our community. The benefits not only include improved physical wellbeing and mobility, but the improvement of self-esteem and breaking down of social barriers by encouraging players to work as a team or in groups and ultimately, making them feel valued.
We use our regional identity as an important tool to promote participation and recruitment with the aim of providing a very positive experience and massive long-lasting impact on all our participants lives.
During training sessions, we work closely with carers, coach helpers and other members of the coaching team to identify any players that have the ability to progress into our Mixed Ability team or even mainstream clubs. Through our club links, we can offer a smooth transition to those players willing to try rugby with their local team.
Newport City Homes’ Chief Executive Ceri Doyle said “There is a clear link between NCH and those who are experiencing homelessness in Newport. We’re committed to supporting the communities we work in and are proud to become a community partner of the Dragons Barbarians. We’ll be actively supporting the Barbarians in many ways such as the provision of workshops led by our colleagues, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the team can achieve over the coming years.”
Dragons Homeless Rugby Team:
The Dragons Barbarians is a touch rugby team that is completely made up of homeless participants. These players qualify as anyone who currently is or has been homeless within their lives.
We have been established since the 2015/16 season and have gone from strength to strength with hard work and commitment from all the current players. This commitment was rewarded with many of the players proudly being selected to represent the Wales Homeless Rugby Touch Rugby Team in March. The selected team finished second in a Homeless Rugby International Cup tournament in Worcester, just losing out in a thrilling final on the top spot.
Alongside the rugby, we have managed to get five players out of their hostels and into homes due to their own focus and the support we have been able to offer.
We have also been successful in supporting three players in coming off drugs by engaging them through sport and giving them goals to work towards. Currently, three of our team have managed to find new employment after providing links we have created with other companies, along with one player currently awaiting interview for the WRU Apprenticeship programme after taking an interest in coaching through playing for the Barbarians.
Through the support of Newport City Homes, the future looks bright - watch this space!