Social Return on Investment: Murrayfield Wanderers provides youth opportunity

Social Return on Investment: Murrayfield Wanderers provides youth opportunity

A new Social Return on Investment report has, for the first time, demonstrated the value participating and volunteering in grassroots rugby delivers for society and the economy.

One of the three key pillars shown in the Social Return on Investment (SROI) report is social, of which targeted projects and participation programmes make up a large portion.

It was a spark that lit a fire when the rugby development officer for Murrayfield Wanderers headed to a young Liam Reilly’s primary school nine years ago.

Now, that young man has graduated both primary and secondary schools and has taken on a modern apprenticeship to become a rugby development officer for that same club.

Growing up in Saughton, Liam says it can often be difficult to find things to do to occupy your time as a child in areas of deprivation – his solution was to pick up a rugby ball.

“I started playing rugby back in primary school, about eight or nine years ago now. The Murrayfield Wanderers development officer, Murray Hastie at the time, came down and I was the only kid from my school who started to play.

“So, there was a year or so there where I was the only kid from my school at the club. But I didn’t let that stop me – I did it because I loved the game, even if it was just me by myself,” he said.

He has now started that passion for numerous other kids from Saughton and surrounding areas thanks to his work with the club.

“I deal with all the kids and their development, kids who have probably never played the game before. And then getting them down to the club through schools and developing them from there.

“Coming from a deprived area, Saughton, there’s not much to do, but it really gives you something to do – to come down here and to meet new friends through rugby. I’ve achieved a lot as well, I’m quite happy with what I’ve achieved and it’s obviously got me this job and a lot of new contacts as well.”

Murrayfield Wanderers development officer Marko Mladenovic said Liam is an asset to the club and when the opportunity presented itself to bring him on, they jumped at it.

“Prior to taking on the modern apprentice role, he was playing for the under-18s at Murrayfield Wanderers, and was also a rugby ambassador and did really well with that leadership role. He really enjoyed himself in all the coaching roles he had up until that point and we thought he’d be a really good addition to the team here.

“Liam’s story is a great one, he’s someone who’s gone full circle starting his rugby with Murrayfield Wanderers in primary school, and he’s now giving back to the community as a modern apprentice, it really is a brilliant story. He’s someone who’s really connected to the community, he understand their challenges and the requirements of the kids,” Marko said.

Liam summed up his experience in the game by encouraging others to get involved with the sport.

“A lot of the time, kids don’t have a lot to do in these areas and to get them out of the house and fed and onto a sports field is great really.

“You meet a lot of people, new friends and you really develop a love for the game. There will be good times, tough times, but you will always have your friends there with you, so because of all that it’s a really good game to be involved with.”

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