Project helps teenager achieve rugby dreams.

Posted on: Friday 16 February 2024
Harley - positive futures

A project that supports young people struggling to cope with mainstream education has helped one promising rugby player tackle the challenges he faced.  

Harley Ryan, 17, from Cwmbran, had behavioural issues that led to his exclusion in year 10 and a referral to the Pupil Referral Unit (PRU).

While he was there, he was referred to the Positive Futures programme and given a modified timetable that better suited his interests, including a strength and conditioning programme, designed to improve his physical fitness and rugby skills.

He is now studying for his Welsh Baccalaureate, BTEC Sport double and maths qualifications at Newport High School and has been selected to play for the Newport Dragon Under 18s squad.

Harley said: “I wasn’t keen on the gym at first, but it changed my perspective and gave me more of an understanding of how to train and perform the correct techniques. The coaches at Positive Futures were genuinely nice people and I built a good relationship with them.”

Harley, 17, has now set his sights on playing for the u19s and u20s Welsh International teams and is interested in becoming a coach for young people with similar backgrounds as himself.

Harley added: “Positive Futures has helped me a lot with my confidence and motivation. It has given me a positive alternative to substance misuse and anti-social behaviour. I am really enjoying playing rugby in big stadiums against quality teams. It’s my dream to represent my country and inspire others.”

Positive Futures is an initiative that started in May 2016, funded predominantly by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Gwent, along with partners such as Youth Offending Service, Sport Wales, and local authority contributing services.

The programme aims to create safer and more inclusive communities by offering positive alternatives to substance misuse and anti-social behaviour through sport.

It also supports the educational, personal and social achievement of young people by working together with partners and agencies.

Any young person aged 9 - 19 living in Torfaen can use the service, as well as those referred by a broad range of agencies, including those identified as ‘at risk’.

Torfaen Council Executive Member for Children, Families and Education, Councillor Richard Clark, said: “We are very proud of Harley and his recent achievements. He has shown great resilience and determination to overcome his difficulties and pursue his passion for rugby. Harley is a great example of how Positive Futures can make a difference in the lives of young people who face challenges and barriers."

For more information about Positive Futures, please visit the Torfaen Council website or follow Torfaen Sports Development on Facebook. 

Last Modified: 16/02/2024 Back to top