Thirty 12 year-olds from Eastern Europe will experience a trip of a life time when they spend time in the idyllic Suffolk countryside at Brandeston Hall in early March. They will play rugby and be coached by Premiership players from London Irish and NEC Harlequins, all courtesy of the charity Touraid and Brandeston Hall.
Touraid is a new children's charity established to create sustainable relationships between schools and clubs in the UK with similar organisations around the globe that support disadvantaged children. Children from Locomotive RFC (Ukraine), Balkanski Kotki RFC (Bulgaria) and Metrorex RFC (Romania) have the chance to 'tour for a week, learn for a lifetime'.
Brandeston Hall will be hosting all three teams and have organised a festival of rugby over the weekend of 10th and 11th March. Mr Nigel Woolnough, The Master at Brandeston Hall, who previously headed a School in Kiev in the Ukraine said: "This really is a great opportunity for the school to host a sporting and social weekend, bringing together four different cultures within the school community involving children from different backgrounds through a common interest in rugby."
The teams were selected with assistance from John Broadfoot of IRB SOS Kitaid and contacts within the IRB. While visiting the UK, the clubs will be fully integrated into school life, spending time with the pupils and their families as well as enjoying school lessons, activities and local events, including attending the Ipswich versus Southend football game.
One of the highlights of their stay will be the coaching session provided by players and staff of London Irish and NEC Harlequins. Both Guinness Premiership clubs have fully embraced the mission of Touraid and last November hosted schools from Serbia and Uganda at their league matches.
London Irish Community Development Manager Philippos Kyriacou said: "Here at London Irish we are in a very privileged position to be playing rugby in one of the most competitive leagues in the world and believe that with that comes a responsibility to use our status to make a difference to those who are not quite so fortunate. As a community department we strive to develop local programmes that promote health awareness, social inclusion and strongly encourage sport / activity participation through the medium of rugby. However, the idea of giving disadvantaged children from across the globe an experience that they will never forget through Touraid is very exciting! Together with the new charity we're also thrilled to be part of improving the strength and depth of rugby in developing countries."
Nick Hyde, Community Development Officer at NEC Harlequins concurs. "NEC Harlequins are delighted to support Touraid. Rugby union is a fantastic sport that places emphasis on courage, teamwork and skill; likewise the rugby community is generous with its spirit and friendship. For rugby to be a truly global sport, the major nations will need to play their part in developing grassroots rugby in all areas of the globe. Touraid's contribution to rugby and the many families this scheme reaches is remarkable, and Quins are hugely privileged to be a part of it."
The Touring Teams
All the children who are coming to England play rugby at their clubs and come from underprivileged backgrounds. Most families have limited income and not many prospects for improvement in employment due to the locality of the towns and the poor economic growth.
The children often live in small houses with families of three or more generations. The have been selected by their club as being children who love rugby and meet the criteria as specified by Touraid for receiving support.
The Charity - Touraid
Touraid is a new children's charity that establishes sustainable relationships between schools and clubs in the UK with similar organisations around the globe that support disadvantaged children. Touraid sees rugby as the catalyst for these partnerships with the resulting educational, cultural and social benefits to the visiting teams and host children being immeasurable.
Touraid was established by Andy Berry who recognised the need for such an organisation whilst teaching in the Greater London area. Touraid now enjoys the support of Mike Catt, Phil Greening and Chester Williams, who are Touraid Ambassadors. Trustees of Touraid include John Inverdale, while Dean Richards and Jason Leonard have pledged their support.
Touraid also enjoys the support of the Guinness Premiership Clubs and the RFU, who have agreed to host curtain raisers and provide coaching assistance. Touraid is working with the clubs to facilitate a great rugby experience for the touring teams. Guinness Premiership academy players will be available to help coach disadvantaged children in these countries during the summer break.
Prior to the Rugby World Cup in France later this year, plans are in place to host a Developing Nations Under 14 Cup. It is hoped that Between 10 to 16 teams from around the globe, including teams from Swaziland, Zambia, Cambodia, India and Moldova, will stay with schools around the greater London area for one week and will compete in a two day festival of rugby, with group matches taking place at Esher Rugby Club and the finals being played at NEC Harlequins.
For more details about these summer activities or for more information about Touraid, then please call 01932 829209 or email email@example.com. Alternatively, check out their website at www.touraid.info.
Touraid is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. Charity registration number: 1116664
The Hosts - Framlingham College and Brandeston Hall
Framlingham College is a centre of all round-excellence, providing fully co-educational boarding and day schooling from two and a half to 18 years-old. It enjoys a magnificent rural situation, looking across to the 12th Century Framlingham Castle, and is within easy striking distance of Ipswich, Cambridge, Colchester and Norwich.
The College grounds and facilities are extensive, creating a lively academic, cultural and social environment in which pupils are encouraged to be industrious and ambitious, and where all can take full advantage of the rich mix of extra curricular activities on offer.
Brandeston Hall is the preparatory school for Framlingham College. The School is in a separate location from the senior school and resides in the equally idyllic neo-Tudor setting of Brandeston Hall beside the River Deben. It enjoys an excellent reputation in its own right, but maintains close links with its senior counterpart, making transition to the College a smooth, seamless and natural process.
Their philosophy is based on caring for each individual child, pastorally and academically, in the context of a supportive, happy and stimulating family environment. They believe that the process of learning and the promotion of excellence, from the first year of pre-prep to the final class of Year 8, should be an enjoyable experience for every pupil based upon a well-balanced curriculum offering equal opportunities for all.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.