Great Bristol Run 2024: Almost 100 people are running for the Star* Scheme charity

It's the first time the charity has entered a team into the Great Bristol Run.
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Star* Scheme is a Bristol-based charity that aims to make a difference in the lives of young people who have adverse childhood and community experiences, poverty or mental health issues, through rugby.

It started at Chew Valley Rugby Club in 2021 and now operates across Bristol and in various locations around the UK, covering 97 rugby clubs.

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More than 90 people will be running on behalf of the charity for the first time at the Great Bristol Run on May 19.

The funds raised will be used to expand the scheme into more rugby clubs in Bristol and Bath, the charity’s most active areas. 

Eloise, the fundraiser and communication manager for Star* Scheme, explained: "We are an aid to the clubs, so we help the clubs with their training and their understanding of how to help those young people, help those young people build resilience and transform their lives and we can build full support. 

"So we take away the barriers that could be there, like access, they could have never played rugby before, so we do taster sessions. We take away the cost of transport and subs and tour payments, and then we aid the local clubs in raising funds to keep those children there and keep them from the age of 4 to 18 within grassroots and playing sports, being active, and changing their lives through that sport."

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"When a child is acting out, it's easy to pre-judge them and think they're naughty without understanding why," added Christian Lang, Managing Director of Star* Scheme and one of the runners. "We make sure our staff know how to react to children in those situations so that they feel safe and understood.

"It’s transformative to see the impact Star* Scheme has on the children we work with. With just a bit of time every week, they're more attentive, engaged, happy and smiling. They gain resilience, confidence and better communication skills. It can really transform their lives.

"I'd like to thank all of the people that are running for us. It's really moving that so many people have signed up to run for Star* Scheme. The money they raise will directly go to impacting the lives of some of the most vulnerable young people in our society. So just a massive thank you to everyone who's been involved."

Kelly Irwin, who is running the 19k for Star* Scheme, recently started working for the charity and whose son plays at Chew Valley Rugby Club shared: "Over the past three years I’ve been able to see what a huge impact this charity is having on the lives of some of my son’s team-mates, their families and, in fact, all the parents involved at the club. The Great Bristol Run is a great way for the parents to come together as a team and to continue to support the amazing work Star* Scheme is doing.

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“I’m not a runner so this is a real challenge for me. My aim is to be able to run all of it without having to stop or walk. Having just started a new job alongside writing my Master's dissertation, I don’t have much time left over, but running a few times a week is really helping to clear my head. The camaraderie within the team, with little groups all training together, has been brilliant."

Her husband Tom, who will also be running on behalf of the charity, added: “I know how sport can make a positive difference to people’s lives, especially team sport and especially at a young age. Star* does amazing work supporting young people from all backgrounds, but who are all dealing with difficult challenges and adversities. The charity helps these kids find a community they can identify with, where they feel safe and can be themselves, growing their confidence, team-working and leadership skills and developing long-lasting friendships.

“Their experience with Star* can really help them achieve life-changing and improved outcomes, including physical and mental health benefits, friendships and inclusion, which can help them in their education and, eventually, their work outcomes. I hope that I can raise awareness of what they do, along with funds to reach even more communities and help even more children.”

You can find out more about the Star* Scheme here.

Feel inspired to take part in the Great Bristol Run on May 19? Entries are open here.

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