- England players visit Fundación Espartanos
- The project receives funding through Try for Change
During their June Test series in Argentina, several England players visited one of Buenos Aires’ maximum-security prisons to meet Fundación Espartanos, a charity running a rugby project amongst participants within the prison.
England players, including Captain Dylan Hartley as well as Danny Care and Chris Robshaw, saw first-hand how funding from England Rugby and Sport Relief, through the Try for Change Fund, is supporting the project.
In Argentina, the reoffending rate is as high as 60% due to lack of opportunities for prisoners to gain vocational skills so Fundación Espartanos has launched a programme called ‘Second Chance’ which uses rugby as a platform for social change.
"It’s great to see that rugby is such a positive driving force at the prison," said England captain Dylan Hartley.
"Every day they get the chance to be outdoors, be active, and practice all those values that rugby teaches us. They pick a team at the end of the month based on who’s performed and lived those values. It’s amazing to see.”
Second Chance offers inmates up to two practical training sessions per week where they learn basic rugby skills and also developskills such as respect, commitment, humility, teamwork, constancy, sacrifice and responsibility. As a result of the work the project does, the reoffending rate has reduced to 5% among participants.
Second Chance participant and team captain Gabriel, 23, has dreams to become a physical education teacher so he can teach rugby to vulnerable children and young people.
"This programme has changed my life and has made me a better person," said Gabriel.
"Rugby is a game which teaches many beautiful things, values that will help us become gentlemen in the future.
"Once a month we play outside the prison at different clubs. This gives us a chance to see what clubs on the outside are like and the most special part of it for us is that our families come and watch us and see what we’re doing.”