Ballymena Bears, established in February 2012, provides tag rugby on every other Sunday for young people (starting age 6 with no upper limit) with learning disabilities, playing an important role in Ballymena Rugby Club’s service to the entire community.
Numbers in the group have grown to 21 with 14 coaches or helpers and the high coach to player ratio ensures that those players who require one-to-one attention receive it.
The group is represented on the Ulster Special Needs Tag Rugby Advisory Group (STAG) and thanks to massive help from Ulster Branch organised and ran the UK National Special Needs Tag Rugby Festival at Ravenhill on the 6 and 7th September with over 20 clubs from UK and Ireland attending.
The event was a resounding success with the Under-15s Bears winning the section fair play trophy. Other highlights included playing at half time during the Ulster vs Leinster game, a trip to Jordanstown to play indoors at the Newforge Taggers Blitz day and taking part in the Ulster Rugby Academy run training day at Ballyclare RFC.
Last season finished at the end of June with an end of season big breakfast morning which was supported by Montgomery’s Cafe (a huge thank you to Richard for all his support over the season).
This season the Bears are keen to undertake their first ever away trip to Shropshire in June 2015 to take part in the International Festival. Fund raising efforts will start in earnest this month as they aim to raise the estimated £6000 needed to take the ‘Big Bears’ and ‘Bear
Cubs’ to it and the club would be very grateful for any sponsorship towards this trip.
Now that the 2014/15 season is up and running again the club’s sessions will continue to run every two weeks at Eaton Park from 10am to 11am. Please see our facebook page for more details.