Edinburgh BATs Rugby (BATs) is a community amateur sports club based at Raeburn Place and operating across north Edinburgh. Established in 2004 by Broughton RFC, the Edinburh Academical FC and Trinity Accies RFC, BATs operates on the principle that community sport contributes significantly to improving lives, whilst also underpinning elite sport by extending the talent pool.
BATs encourages participation and nurtures talent from primary and secondary school age groups through to district and national representation, working both in schools and at a club level, building skills and lifelong values. The BATs' development officers work with:
- 17 schools to deliver 600+ sessions of physical activity to young people
- 5 secondary schools to build life skills and rugby ability amongst 200+ youths from a range of socio-economic backgrounds
- 100+ young people through the BATs' club sides
- Activity groups of people with learning and physical challenges
- Older people wishing to remain active in rugby
- Young coaches and referees looking to build skills
BATs' development team is responsible for the direction and operation of the Scottish Rugby School of Rugby at Trinity Academy. They also established and operate a School of Rugby at Broughton High School. BATs also operates after-school and lunch clubs at various primary schools in north Edinburgh, providing a link between curricular and club rugby for younger children. The culmination of these clubs is a series of friendly inter-school tournaments, providing the young players with competitive experience and allowing them to represent their school.
During the Easter and summer holidays BATs operates rugby camps at Raeburn Place, with the emphasis on having fun whilst learning skills and meeting new people, all valuable life skills. Future camps may expand to include other team sports such as lacrosse, netball and football, broadening the camps' appeal to ensure more young people are exposed to the possibilities of sport.
Beyond the provision of physical activity, with its associated benefits, BATs also regularly provides work experience opportunities to more senior pupils from Trinity Academy, Drummond High and Broughton High School. The aim is to provide young people with career options they may not previously have considered, as well as exposing them to the disciplines of a working environment.
“We have had hundreds of Trinity Academy pupils who have benefitted from their involvement in BATs [with] positive learning experiences on sporting, personal and social development levels.” Carol Graham, Acting Rector, Trinity Academy.
BATs launched a mixed walking touch rugby initiative in April 2018, designed to provide over-50s who are looking to become more active with a fun, healthy and safe way to get some exercise and enjoy the benefits of a team sport. These sessions were so successful that what had been planned as a summer programme was extended to include an indoor programme for the winter months. As well as the obvious benefits of regular weekly exercise, these sessions also provide social interaction and friendship – essential elements to overall well-being for everyone, but especially for older people adjusting to life post-retirement and potentially experiencing social isolation.
To learn more about BATs, please visit their website.
This short video provides an insight into the work done by BATs and TRI: