"Unity is strength and cautions us to overcome our differences in a quest to achieve our common goals.” This line has become the ethos driving a group of players and coaches from Bancroft RFC in their mission to support their community.
Originating during an end of season league game, two slightly older, slightly more overweight members who remained smitten with the game committed to provide a positive influence to self improvement amidst all the rugby club banter. Bancroft RFC’s Chunks2Hunks (Chunks) was born as a WhatsApp group for players looking to support each other in losing weight and maintaining good mental health. The Chunks project evolved into a program that now endeavours to support a wide range of social change initiatives and local charities. From running Tag Rugby tournaments for children with learning and physical needs to collecting and delivering clothes, essential hygiene products and food parcels for vulnerable families; the Chunks movement serves to highlight the importance Bancroft RFC places on living up to its designation of being one of Essex’s charity registered clubs.
The initial aim of the Chunks project was simple. Players looking to improve their physical and mental health would support each other in achieving their goals. The project consisted of weekly weigh ins, a motivational chat group and a collective sense of accountability; each member supporting each other, working towards a common goal. For every pound of weight lost a pound sterling was collected, with the intention that these funds would be used to improve the clubs gym facilities. However, at the end of the season, the group decided it would rather donate this funding to the club’s youth section, helping them purchase a new scrum machine. Members of the Chunks group further donated time towards supporting youth coaches develop drills, practices and training sessions using the new equipment. This first initiative set the tone for what was to follow. Chunks became The C2H Project a group of committed players and coaches designing and delivering programmes of social change.
The C2H Project designed and is now delivering a programme to support Under 18 players in their transition towards being ready to play adult rugby. Through coaching, mentoring, strength and conditioning training; young adults are being supported to develop the physical attributes, skills and knowledge and mental well being needed to make a successful and effective transition. This initiative is currently being shared with three local clubs with the potential to increase its capacity for the support it offers next season.
Members of The C2H Project are working alongside two local Primary schools in providing opportunities for children with autism and learning needs to play competitively alongside their friends in local school tournaments. This project has engaged: 74 new children, 8 new primary schools, 2 new secondary schools, 24 new senior school children/sports leaders and 43 new primary teachers in the designing, delivery and participation in this inclusive program.
These projects have unfortunately been put on hold due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will resume when safe to do so. But, the work of The C2H Project continues. Since the need for Lockdown, The C2H Project has been pulling its collective resources together to support a range of local charities and organizations such as: The Redbridge Well Being Service, The Corner House Project, The Magpie Project, Feed the Streetz, the Malachi project and a hostel for the homeless.
The group are collecting and delivering essential clothing, hygiene products and food parcels to our communities most vulnerable families, supporting: the isolated elderly; those facing poverty, those who have experienced forced evictions, young mothers and their children who are living in temporary accommodation as victims of domestic violence.
The C2H Project is working with a local BP/Marks and Spencer’s garage and Food Hall, delivering food donations to a local hostel, which is supporting 49 young males who are attempting to move from living on the streets towards sheltered accommodation, employment and the chance of starting a new life.
The C2H Project and @CPPerformance UK (Certeris Partibus Performance) are also supporting local schools by: designing “Games for the garden” a collection of simple games families can play together, based on tag rugby skills. Through media platforms such as blogs and YouTube, players and coaches are sharing with teachers, children and families a range of physical activities and exercises designed to improve strength, coordination and well being.
The C2H Project is also supporting the Redbridge Smiles Together campaign: a feel-good community initiative encouraging children to draw, design, or paint colourful and positive pictures, or letters, that are then delivered alongside food bank parcels to vulnerable residents, who are self-isolating.
“Unity is strength and cautions us to overcome our differences in a quest to achieve our common goals.” The Chunk’s have lost an average of 17lbs per group member, but it is the discovered unity of the group that has become the strength needed for these individuals and Bancroft RFC to design and deliver social change projects with and for the community it strives to support.