2014 will mark the second year of the Game Changers programme, the community focussed youth development programme which aims to encourage 13 and 14 year old school pupils to strive for academic and personal success. In partnership, both Deutsche Bank and London Scottish, combine education and rugby to make a real impact on young people's lives.
Over an eight-week period, the combination of playing sessions on the pitch and classroom-based activities develops confidence, motivation and social skills. The programme will work with 25 students most at risk of exclusion from school using rugby as a vehicle to drive behavioural change through a comprehensive sports education programme.
At the centre of the programme is the measurement and evaluation process which monitors and tracks the students closely throughout the course to highlight results and measure success. Specialist teachers will deliver the education programme. Members of the London Scottish 1st team and coaching staff will work alongside the Club's community development officers to deliver the rugby coaching aspect of the programme.
Game Changers uses rugby to turn around negative attitudes and disruptive behaviour. The students learn how to deal with their personal challenge in an environment where they feel involved and appreciated. 92% of participants feel proud for completing the course. "I've learned discipline and respect and I've learned how to play rugby as well. It's been really good!" Troy, a Game Changers participant in 2013.
The programme has been designed and will be delivered by Activate Sports, specialists in sports education and community programmes. Deutsche Bank's UK staff volunteers will support both classroom mentoring sessions and rugby coaching as part of its corporate volunteering programme. A. Rees, a Deutsche Bank employee summarises the programmes rewards for both participants and volunteers, "The change in the boys involved, both in individual behaviour and how they came together as a squad of rugby players, is testament to their approach and ability and I wanted to say a big well done and also thank you for being involved in such a rewarding project".