Madrid 10-12 December 2021
In December 2021 we travelled to Madrid with the whole team to the validation day of the National Plan for Inclusive Rugby led by the Spanish Rugby Federation with the advice of our development directors. The rugby model proposed by the Spanish Rugby Federation and directly inspired by our sporting model was evaluated. Following our model of inclusion, we turned the day into a two-day trip in which we were also able to share time as a team. Our efforts as an association which heralds social inclusion as its main core value strive towards finding moments when our players with learning disabilities and our volunteers mix together and, as we like to say, you cannot really tell who is benefitting more from the project. The interactions that take place, the small talk, the big conversations, the jokes and laughs… they all provide the project with a solid foundation which relies on sport but builds on people being together.
As for the event itself, several teams from all over Spain got together to carry out some training exercises and play games under the scrutiny of an independent panel of observers from different backgrounds: sports, medicine, universities, match officials and national associations working with people with disabilities. The scheme wanted to assess the modifications, which the Spanish Union have developed with the direct support of TRI members, which make our model of rugby a safe version to play. The validation of our model would eventually allow us to have players and volunteers insured under our national and regional unions as the fact that there is a common set of rules given by the Spanish Union confirms that our model of rugby is not only feasible but also safe. This opens the doors to receiving volunteers/enablers who may have been dubious as to take part in the games because of the lack of the medical insurance which is provided when they register under any of the regional or national unions. The support of the Spanish Rugby Union is also relevant as it provides us with a trustworthy partnership which brings visibility to our project.
All in all, we believe that the way forward for developing our sport and our volunteer base is to go hand in hand with regional and national entities, whether it’s is local councils, regional governments, rugby unions or the Spanish Rugby Union itself.