14 Oct 2020

During these difficult times, the Hong Kong Rugby Union and its Community Foundation are redoubling efforts to support our city.  The coming rugby season brings new developments across three key Foundation-supported programmes, including the transformation of the Bridging Divides with funding from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust; a renewal of a promising pilot campaign with the Chinese University of Hong Kong social sciences department that uses rugby to enhance family relationships for children with ADHD; and a welcome new commercial partner for the HKRU’s region-leading Deaf Rugby programme.

From Bridging Divides to the Jockey Club Rugby United Project

In April, the Union received support from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for a partnership programme with global sports development charity PeacePlayers that uses rugby as a vehicle to integrate Hong Kong’s Chinese and non-ethnic Chinese communities.  The support provided by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has allowed for the rejuvenation of the programme, by expanding its scale and including new programme components.

Riding on the positive feedback of the pilot programme, which was launched in 2018 and successfully engaged 120 kids from six schools, the new three-year campaign, the Jockey Club Rugby United Project targets youth 13-15 years old (boys and girls) from a range of academic and socioeconomic backgrounds and focuses on themes like teamwork, respect, positive attitude, determination, leadership and diversity. The goal is to break down barriers between the over 1,440 participants from 20 secondary schools and ten local ruby clubs through a series of interactive training and teambuilding sessions and attending the Cathay pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens together in 2021.

Given pandemic protocol restrictions on group gatherings, the programme has implemented an initial online element starting with the virtual recruitment of coaches from the six HKRU Premiership clubs. The coaches will undergo an online training programme to include sessions with HKRU and PeacePlayers staff with topics such as the Power of a coach and creating a culture of collaboration.

Rocky Chow, Chief Commercial Officer of the Hong Kong Rugby Union commented on the recognition and support from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust saying, “We are delighted to kick start the new Jockey Club Rugby United Project. The Trust’s support for this important initiative will allow us to redouble our efforts to unite the Hong Kong community through sport.”

Joe Smith, Director of Programs and Organizational Development from PeacePlayers international said, “We are very pleased at the successful results of partnering with the Hong Kong Rugby Union and excited at the new possibilities to effect change given the welcome support from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. With this support we can deepen and broaden the programme’s impact.”


Helping Hong Kong families manage ADHD

A first-of-its-kind local partnership, the Rugby for ADHD children and their families (Phase 2) Programme - run in collaboration with the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), is being renewed this year after showing promising results in its pilot programme last year.  Pointing to its potential impact, the programme has also drawn the financial support of the St James’s Place Charitable Foundation for the first time in 2020.

The Rugby for ADHD children and their families (Phase 2) Programme uses collaborative parent-child rugby engagement as a means of improving the parent-child relationship for families with children with ADHD.

“With six percent of school age children in Hong Kong affected with ADHD, this programme is addressing a real need for local families in a very unique and creative way. Given the promising initial results, we were very excited to step in to support this innovative campaign and help increase the sample size going forward,” said Zoe Pearson, Chair of the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation – Hong Kong.

The programme was launched last year with 17 local families with early primary age children participating, and the initial results produced some positive changes in perception deemed worthy of studying further with an increased sample size.

The programme featured six weeks of casual Sunday training sessions with the kids being led by HKRU inclusive rugby coaches, followed by fun games and rugby activities where the kids invited their parents to take part. This focus on unique family play activities offered a safe and enjoyable space for parents and children to engage with positive responses from all surveyed participants. 

The target group is planned to scale up to 30 families for 2020/21 which will begin with an online element with recruitment of participants and programme meetings throughput the year and into January. A blend of online delivered parent-child engagement programme delivered by CUHK educators will be interspersed with home rugby skill games for kids and parents initially, with planned on-pitch gatherings in the first half of 2021.

Wilson Group supports HKRU Deaf Rugby programmes

The HKRU is also pleased to announce the support of Wilson Group, a member of the Sun Hung Kai Properties, as title sponsor of the HKRU’s region-leading Deaf Rugby programme.

The well-established programme runs rugby programmes for over 100 participants, including students from the Lutheran School for the Deaf and adults and youth from the Chun Tok School, the Hong Kong Association for the Deaf and the Hong Kong Society for the Deaf, and also engages with other deaf rugby programmes around Asia and the world. 

Henry Louie, Managing Director of Wilson Group Hong Kong/China commented on the programme saying, “The values of sport are the same that influence us in our professional environment: teamwork, leadership, fair play and integrity. As such, we are delighted to mark our first partnership with the HKRU’s Community Foundation and support the continued growth and success of Deaf Rugby in Hong Kong and Asia.”

“On behalf of the entire deaf rugby community, I can say that this programme has helped change people’s lives and helped to build rapport between Hong Kong’s hearing impaired and wider communities. We are very grateful to the Wilson Group for their support,” said Winnie Cheung Wing-yin, a former beneficiary who became the first deaf player to play senior rugby in Hong Kong and who is now a full-time inclusive rugby officer for the HKRU.