Bristol Rugby's Eagle Project shines in Women's Sport Week
13 October 2016 09:00am
By Jenny Tulloch
Bristol Ladies Rugby star Sasha Acheson believes there is no better time to be a woman in sport as she looks to inspire the next generation of talent as part of the Eagle Project.
The programme impressed by picking up the PLAY Award at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Awards in 2015 and 2016, with programme manager Geraint Lewis delighted to be able to showcase the talent as part of Women's Sport Week.
"A lot of the girls have never played rugby, so we start off by making it as fun as possible and it's amazing how many of them want to keep that going and to join other clubs because of that," he said.
"Four years ago, there wasn't the opportunity for girls to become professional rugby players. They could play for England, but would have to do that alongside another job alongside that.
"But now everything is transformed, and for the girls to have Bristol Ladies there watching gives them something massive to aspire to.
"For it to all be part of Women's Sport Week as well is fantastic."
Aimed specifically at girls in Years 8, 9 and 10, the Eagle Project is a 12-week programme designed to increase participation at a grassroots level.
One of the sessions also coincided with Women's Sport Week - now in its second year - an opportunity for everybody involved with working in sport to celebrate, raise awareness and increase the profile of women's sport across the UK.
And for Acheson, who went to watch the action, programmes such as the Eagle Project are the perfect opportunity for girls to get the most out of the games they love.
"I'm really proud to be a woman in sport," said the England international. "It has completely changed my life, and sport teaches you all the fundamental values that are all transferable into life skills.
"It massively empowers you, you learn and do things you never thought possible, and for all these girls starting out they can now dream of being professional and having chances they wouldn't have had previously.
"It's such an exciting time for women's rugby and I'm so proud to be a part of that - the Eagle Project does a fantastic job and hopefully that can continue."
Acheson and fellow Bristol Ladies forward Kathryn Buggy were joined at the event at St Bernard Lovell Academy by Bristol Rugby duo Ian Evans and Martin Roberts, impressed with the talent in what was only week four of the current Eagle Project.