Bolton Rugby Union FC isn’t just a rugby club, it prides itself on being community-focused and family-orientated, where volunteering forms an essential part of its fabric.

Based in Halliwell, it is the only rugby union club in the town and has been in existence since 1872. The club, which boasts four senior teams, 12 junior teams and a new girls/women’s section, teaches its players commitment, loyalty, discipline and team building, and keeps them active from a young age. With over 350 players and 40 volunteers, the social aspect is also invaluable, with people often making strong friendships on the rugby pitch that can last a lifetime.

Over the last two years, players and volunteers at Bolton Rugby Union FC have provided over 1,400 hours of coaching, helping hundreds of young people develop an interest in sport. They use rugby as a tool for tackling social exclusion and hate crime, and inspiring young people to change their behaviours in a positive manner by using peer mentoring and confidence-building incentives.

They also run coaching sessions for youngsters with pan disabilities and mild learning difficulties in conjunction with Bolton Wanderers Community Trust. Although these sessions helped many young people they were concerned that it didn’t help those who were uncertain or lack the confidence to go the club.

They recently set up coaching sessions for young people with disabilities in the familiar surroundings of their school. One attendee, Ibrahim, who struggles with the day-to-day life of being a young person with a disability, has benefited greatly from being involved.

Since he started going to the coaching sessions he has become very motivated, extremely enthusiastic, and simply loves being part of the club. It has improved his mindset and general wellbeing across other aspects of his life too.

Due to the incredible difference the coaching has made to children with disabilities, Bolton Rugby Union Club was awarded the School Links Award at the Community Sport and Recreation Awards in 2015.