Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.

This is one of my favourite quotes and although Albert Einstein never actually said it, it’s a mantra that guides all the work we do with children and young people at Bath Rugby Foundation.

At BRF we believe everyone has talent, everyone is clever, and it just takes the right environment and a fair sprinkling of time to uncover that talent.

Unfortunately, the children and young people who find their way to us lack confidence and believe they are stupid – mainly because they have only ever been measured in one way and against one set of metrics. Added to that some have been born into unsettled, sometimes chaotic home lives where not even the basic needs are met. Others have learning difficulties, and this requires a different approach - because they are never going to thrive in a ‘one size fits all’ culture.

What does Bath Rugby Foundation do?

We begin by building confidence, with a focus on what the children can do and not what they can’t do. It’s incredible the difference this relatively simple process can make – with disengaged children soon learning to back themselves, soon seeing challenges as ‘on’ their way and not ‘in’ their way.

Developing skills comes next and that can be in the classroom, on the pitch, at home or as part of work experience. For the last 18 years sport has been at the heart of what we do, and we have seen time and time again that no child ever felt worse for getting active. Although we use the values of rugby – integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect – soccer, cricket, golf, yoga and dance find their way into our programmes.

Our objective is always creating pathways to independence – whether that’s successfully integrating children and young people back into school, going onto college, finding work, or even joining a sports club.

Instead of trying to fit everyone into a narrow version of success Bath Rugby Foundation is proud to celebrate differences, to understand other people’s perspectives and broaden our own, to educate ourselves as well as others and most importantly be part of community where all young people feel they belong.

This short video above will give you an insight into the lives of just a few of the young people we are proud to have supported, young people whose differences we celebrate. I hope their stories inspire you as much as they inspire us.