Dragons RFC - Club of the Month September 2023
For our September Club of the Month, the #EveryBodyMoves team headed to Newport (Wales) to see how Dragons RFC are 'scaling' new heights and breathing a fire of inclusivity into the local community.
The ‘Dragons Community Family of Provisions’ encompass Sport, Education, Inclusion, Community Outreach and Health & Wellbeing to drive change and positive outcomes. From their Sporting Memories sessions, which support those with dementia and other impairments through weekly social and multisport activity sessions, through to an ever growing list of adapted versions of the sport that include walking, wheelchair, VI, Phoenix and many other creative ways to allow even more of the community to participate in a way that suits them. Of that inclusive mindset, Karen Burgess, Inclusion Officer at Dragons told us:
"Whether it's volunteers or participating, we don't turn anyone away. There's something for everyone!"
This was echoed by Mike Sage, the Dragons' Community Manager: "We're immensely proud as a club to be able to use our identity to support our local communities through our family provision. And at Dragons RFC we like to think that there's no barriers to people becoming part of our #DragonsFamily".
From their adoption of a 'Jersey for All' approach to ensure inclusivity regardless of age, race, religion, ability or disability, through to the ways that all teams and community groups are actively involved and support each other. The community team, along with the Dragons players aim to be great role models in the region and inspire thousands, making a real positive impact on people's lives.
Participant and volunteer, Morgan Steed, told us:
"It gives me a lease of life and makes me feel happy. It's made me more confident and to believe in myself"
Of the opportunities that have come via his volunteering role, Morgan continued: "Hopefully I’ll get two days paid. I’ve seen my parents work so I feel like, ‘Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I work?' It'll mean the world. It'll mean, like, I’ve achieved something and I’ve done my parents proud... that’s all I want to do in life."
Joining us at the award handover was Steve McGrath, Regional Partnership Senior Officer Gwent for Disability Sport Wales, who told us: “Winning this award is deserved recognition for the work of the Dragons RFC and the range of opportunities and pathways they have developed that allow disabled people in Gwent a genuine choice of physical activity. It highlights the benefits of the inclusive sport programme delivered by the Dragons RFC and the range of opportunities provided by insport clubs across Wales.”
"I’ve said it quite a few times, without this lot I wouldn’t be here. Everybody’s here for everybody, that's what I like about it."
Said participant Paul Lewis, on the ways that the Dragons Sporting Memories session and their supportive community has positively impacted his life. It was a sentiment echoed by all participants we spoke to, including Ronnie Davis who moved to the area for this very reason. She told us: "I suffer with anxiety and stress, this has really, really helped me. Before I moved here I’d shut myself away and some days I wouldn't even open my curtains. But I really look forward to coming to this. You can never leave here not being happy."
Our day with Dragon left no doubt in our mind that the team were fully living their #DragonsFamily values in all the work they do and are thoroughly deserving winners of our Club of the Month award. A huge congratulation once again to the team and everyone involved at every level, what a community!