From left: Graham Hewitson and Graham Clearly taking part in a Walking Rugby session. Pic: ASM Media & PR.

An award-winning Angus sports charity’s walking rugby project for adults has resumed – but now it’s helping locals tackle Lockdown lard and isolation as well as helping build Covid resilience and recovery.

Strathmore Community Rugby Trust began its walking rugby sessions at Strathmore RFC’s ground in Forfar in August 2018. They were designed to allow anyone who no longer feels able to play the regular game but wants to get or stay active to do so through touch rugby – the non-contact, fun, social form of the game.

Social element

The free hour-long sessions on Mondays at 6.30pm and Fridays at 9.30am allow participants to meet others with a similar interest and take part in a non-contact version of the game. The sessions have attracted new players as well as former Club players, not only creating friendships but reigniting old ones for chat about the game and the recent Six Nations Championship.

The moderate physical exercise is also ideal to help adults shed any Lockdown pounds they’ve gained on the sofa as well as help them reduce their risk of severe illness if they catch Covid – by boosting their lung fitness – and help those who have caught it recover.

No kit needed

The sessions resumed last Friday morning and Monday night this week. Sports kit is optional, but participants are encouraged to at least wear comfortable clothing suitable for walking plus appropriate waterproofs or warm clothes as required depending on the forecast for each session.

The Trust’s Community Trust Manager, Maggie Lawrie, explains: “This project has helped ensure we provide opportunities for people of all ages and ability to be more active and therefore improve their health and wellbeing, so everyone is welcome!

“The social aspect is as important as the rugby element.  Rugby is a sport built on values and friendships are established and retained for life. I know from our regulars they’ve been on tenterhooks waiting to hear when the Covid unlocking timetable would allow them to meet and play together again”

“A bit of normality”

Walking Rugby participant Willie Gray said: “It’s great to be out the house again and be able to do something. We can get back to some exercise and a bit of normality, so it’s great the trust has been able to restart the sessions.”

Anyone interested in taking part is asked to get in touch with Maggie via the Contact page on the Trust’s website – https://www.strathmoretrust.co.uk/contact/

For more details, go to https://www.strathmoretrust.co.uk/project/walking-rugby/ or the Trust Facebook page.

Other project restart dates

Other trust projects are planned to go ahead in the coming weeks too. The Stracathro Estates Rugby Academy is set to restart on April 23 and the award-winning Autism-Friendly Rugby sessions for primary pupils resumes its in-person version on April 30.

Appeal for donations

Because its normal fundraising activities have been severely limited by Covid restrictions, the trust is asking local people and organisations to provide monthly donations to support its full range of community wellbeing work, which includes rugby and life skills for secondary pupils, walking rugby for people unable to run and unified rugby to include people with disabilities. Details of how to donate can be found on the trust website at https://www.strathmoretrust.co.uk/donate/

The trust was founded in 2017 to increase public participation in sport, particularly rugby union and rugby league, in the Forfar, Kirriemuir and Brechin areas to benefit community health and wellbeing as well as develop young people into healthy, positive members of the community through the positive ethos and values of rugby.

It works in partnership with Strathmore RFC, Brechin RFC, sportscotland, Scottish Rugby and Scotland Rugby League. Maggie Lawrie’s role is supported by funding from sportscotland and The Robertson Trust.

The trust’s Royal Patron is HRH The Earl of Forfar.

To find out more, go to the trust’s new website at https://www.strathmoretrust.co.uk