Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) don’t care where you grow up. Even in countries closer to home, such as England, ACEs are altering the childhoods of those growing up in disadvantaged areas, increasing their risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs as adults, as well as involvement in violence and imprisonment. Unfortunately, many children suffering from difficult upbringings often feel they must face it alone.

But with the help of The Atlas Foundation, STAR is changing this. Utilising the existing network of grassroot rugby clubs and coaches in the UK, STAR is supporting children suffering from poverty and mental health though Player Development Plans tailored for them. The plans allow the children to develop their social skills and emotional regulation, gaining a feeling of belonging, and empowerment to take control of their situations.



As a new scheme, the success has been phenomenal. STAR started with 30 children at a grassroot club in the Southwest, implementing the Player Development Plans for each child and taking the time to form trusted relationships between the children and the coaches. Across the year, STAR saw an average of 200% improvement in all areas, and STAR children having 100% attendance to training and match sessions between January and April 2022.

By STAR’s second year, the scheme is on track to expand to over 20 clubs. The Atlas Foundation is helping support this growth and will directly help in the fulfilment of resources in the Worcester area. Over 400 children and their families will be supported by more than 300 coaches and volunteers.