An inclusive sports club in Moore is ‘changing’ people’s lives' and allowing them to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance.
Moore Rugby Club was founded in November 1968 and has since gone from strength to strength, becoming one of the ‘fastest-growing’ clubs in the country.
More than 50 years later in 2019, the club launched walking rugby sessions – a slower and simplified form of the game without contact – which are open to everyone regardless of gender and experience level.
The game involves no tackling, which is instead replaced by a two-handed touch. No running is allowed but participants can walk at pace, and there are also no scrums or diving to the ground.
Those involved in the team believe this form of sport offers ‘huge benefits’ for people with mental health and social issues.
“It is all about meeting new friends, being part of a team, socialising and it gives everyone a feeling of inclusion,” one player said.
“We have members over the age of 70 who live alone, and without these sessions, they would never leave the house.”
Jem Butler, 54, who runs the sessions, added: “I believe that most people find that just being able to say that they are part of the team and the club makes them feel a sense of belonging and acceptance and it opens up a whole new circle of friends for them.
“We even have the odd social Sunday evening out for all of the team members and everyone enjoys it.
“We are very much part of Moore Rugby Club too and we support all the great events such as annual dinners, gin festivals and more.”
As well as having a huge sense of community, there is also a family feel at the sessions and club.
For instance, the Craven family, who are from Moore, all play rugby – and even their German Shepherd is the club mascot.
And for Christmas a first-team player-coach bought his mum a pair of boots with mum engraved on the side so she could take part in walking rugby sessions – which had a 60 per cent rate of growth last summer.
Sessions take place once a week on a Thursday at 7pm
Jem added: “Walking rugby has changed a lot of people’s lives in a very positive way.
“It is still growing rapidly and new people turn up most weeks.
“The sessions are free and all you need to bring are a pair of boots (and money if you fancy a few drinks at the bar afterward which most of us do).”
Our First Competitive Match
At the AJ Bell stadium, the walking rugby team were competing in a Sale Sharks invitational tournament, winning their first two games, and narrowly losing out in their final game 3 tries to 2. Well done everyone and enjoy the rest of your Saturday on the lash!