Job Centre Gets Unemployed Women Playing Rugby
By Christine Joanna Hart | November 12, 2018
But one job centre is placing women on an intensive fitness course led by an England player in a bid to tackle unemployment.
The regime has proved a real shock to the system for some of the participants, many of whom haven’t done much physical activity since school.
But the women – some overweight and in their 50s – insist it has given them a huge confidence boost in their search for a job, as well as improving their fitness and general well-being.
The training is led by England rugby union player Amy Wilson Hardy, who starred for Team GB at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
The course, part-funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, is being pioneered at a job centre in Richmond, south-west London.
The two-hour sessions, on two days a week over eight weeks, are backed by psychological support and mentoring. They start with stretches, squats and press-ups before the women work on rugby skills and then split into teams to play competitive games.
One of the volunteers, 54-year-old Christine Hart, said she lost a stone during the first five weeks and now ‘feels like Rambo’.
She added: ‘I’m a fat, 50-plus single mum and I’m out of work. I always thought I hated rugby. But now I feel far more confident and stronger inside.’
Mrs Hart, an investigator and author from Richmond, said the idea of signing on at a job centre had been hard for her.
‘Very good! Now let’s move on from your practical skills…’ +3 ‘Very good! Now let’s move on from your practical skills…’
She added: ‘I cried all the way. It felt like an admission of defeat.’
She signed up for the course, run by the School of Hard Knocks charity, but admits she had little idea what she’d let herself in for, thinking it would be ‘a bit of light stuff in the gym’.
She was won over by Miss Wilson Hardy and her fellow volunteers.
You can read the full Daily Mail article on Christine’s women’s rugby experience by clicking here.