Star players from Aviva Premiership Rugby have joined forces with the NSPCC to help tackle bullying.
Funds raised by a special Premiership Rugby charity weekend and a gala dinner are being employed so that boys and girls aged 6 to 11 years in 120 schools across England can take part in a specially devised rugby programme called Kicking Bullying Into Touch, run jointly by the Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs and the NSPCC.
The Kicking Bullying Into Touch programme, now into its third season, uses the sport of rugby to explain what bullying is, why it is wrong and how to stop it, demonstrating that rugby is a sport that thrives on diversity where many different types of people come together to create a successful team.
Each of the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs has a NSPCC ambassador this season including Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Haydn Thomas (Exeter Chiefs), Alex Brown (Gloucester Rugby), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Christian Wade (London Wasps), Jeremy Manning (Newcastle Falcons), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Gaskell (Sale Sharks), Brad Barritt(Saracens) and Neil Best (Worcester Warriors).
Saracens player Brad Barritt said:
Children can get singled out and experience bullying at any age. No one should have to put up with being bullied and the Kicking Bullying Into Touch campaign hopes to continue to make giant strides into educating children about something that can make lives a misery if not tackled. As part of the team at Saracens we acknowledge that we all need each other and while everyone is different we need to play to each others strengths and work together to achieve a winning result.
Founder and President of ChildLine, Esther Rantzen, said:
Bullying can devastate children's lives and it's vital that all children know bullying is wrong and how to get help if it happens to them. Taking part in sport like rugby can build teamwork skills and respect for others.
Wayne Morris, Head of Community at Premiership Rugby, said:
The Kicking Bullying Into Touch programme is a great way for us to use our unique assets, namely our club brands and players, to tackle an issue that is very high on the government's agenda. Rugby thrives on its diversity, where all different types of people come together to create a successful team. By using some of the key skills in the game, within the inclusive environment rugby generates, we believe the programme will make a real difference to the lives of young children.
For more information about the partnership go to http://www.childline.org.uk/