Hillhead/Jordanhill RFC &
Promoting Inclusion Through Sport

Hillhead Jordanhill Rugby Football Club is a Scottish rugby union club based in Glasgow, Scotland. HJRFC has roots going as far back as 1904 with the formation of the Hillhead Sports Club, however, the rugby club as we know it today was founded in 1988 with a Women’s section added in 1995, they have played at their current home ground, Hughenden in the West End of Glasgow since then.

Despite their name, the club is not located in either Hillhead or Jordanhill, although the pre-merger clubs did have historical links with these areas. Hughenden is in Hyndland.

Our mission
‘Hills’ ambition is to be the first-choice club for all in Glasgow and the West. We will do this by providing the opportunity, challenge and support to develop and grow in rugby in any capacity, whether playing, coaching, facilitating or supporting, for the individual, team and club to reach their full potential.’

Our Values
Hillhead Jordanhill RFC recognises the importance of affording equity to all
members, players, volunteers, whether present or potential, involved in the Club. We are deter-mined to ensure that every person regardless of disability, gender, sex, age, sexual orientation,
marital status, civil partnership status, race, colour, religious convictions, nationality or
ethnic origin has a genuine opportunity to participate to their full potential at all levels and in all roles within the Club. We will operate our Club in line with the principles of the Equality Act 2010 in affording equitable opportunities to everyone involved in rugby.
To this end, Hillhead Jordanhill RFC aims to prevent any discrimination, either direct or indirect and ensure that in its relations with its members, volunteers, and players, whether current or potential, no condition or requirement is imposed which cannot be justified.

At Hills we are a family, open to all, who train, play, challenge, and support rugby.

We ACT by fostering AMBITION in our players through the CHALLENGE rugby brings and encour-aging TEAMWORK on and off the pitch.

HJRFC PRESIDENT – Gary Kitchener

My role of President began in 2019 after a long playing career at Hills starting in 1991. I have played for all three mens teams, captaining the 2nd and 3rd XV’s and coached the ladies 1st XV for 4 years. I represented the club in the Glasgow District XV in 1996.

My rugby took off while playing in school in 1976 where my coach instilled in me a sense of respect for my elders and never to forget the next generations. This is my main driving force throughout life and I believe that if an opportunity is given to me then I should offer a similar chance to someone less fortunate.

As a parent of a child with learning difficulties I have first hand experience of the challenges presented to inclusion in the sporting environment. My daughter loves sport, representing Team GB at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles in 2015, an experience neither of us will forget.

I believe by being President of HJRFC, I am in the position to support others to take the first steps to something extraordinary through the medium of rugby and all its wonderful values.

By being involved with Promoting Inclusion Through Sport we have a great opportunity to open more doors.

Still playing at the grand age of 55 (2019)

Promoting Inclusion Through Sport

HJRFC Club President Gary Kitchener with Allwyn Crawford (ASN Consultant Coordinator),
Promoting Inclusion through Sport.

Promoting Inclusion Through Sport is a multi-sports based community not for profit organisation

The aims are:

a) To provide a sporting/social group (Recovery from Covid-19) for those young people and adults who have a range of physical, learning and communication difficulties to increase their confidence and promote good mental health and physical wellbeing

b) To promote Women’s Group for young people and adults who have a range of physical, learning and communication difficulties to increase confidence and promote good mental health and physical wellbeing through tennis and social activities

c) We partner with sports clubs and projects across the Central Scotland from Midlothian to Ayrshire in order to provide additional support needs (ASN) sessions and encourage volunteers to participate in building a more inclusive community for those with additional support needs.

d) To encourage volunteers to participate in building a more inclusive community for those with additional support needs

e) Promote U10’s All Ability Tennis sessions, bringing together mainstream children to play alongside ASN players

f) Provide workshops as and when necessary, linking up with appropriate local organisations
Multi Sports offered: Tennis, mini tennis, walking netball, basketball, boccia, boot camps, exercise classes, walking groups, rugby drills, tennis leader training, plus many more indoor activities, adapted to meet the needs of the vulnerable beneficaries attending.
Social events are organized throughout the year, ranging from running a stall at gala days, day trips, museum trips, panto and many others.



The link between HJRFC and The Tennis Aces commenced in 2015. A young girl attended our weekly tennis sessions, with the introduction of her parent Gary Kitchener, a rugby player/coach and now President of HJRFC.

Gary and Allwyn, over the course of the next few months, realized we shared the same vision for more clubs to be inclusive for all. There was a distinct lack of sporting activities for those with a learning disability/support needs.

The Tennis Aces set out to break down barriers, with participants growing in numbers, links to schools and day centres increasing, the organisation made a huge stride forward in offering a safe, inclusive welcoming sport, tennis, for those vulnerable beneficiaries in the local community and beyond.

The aim and hope forward was to take tennis into other council areas, to develop similar projects. However, it soon became apparent that barriers cropped up at every angle in the tennis world. Over the course of 3 years, with 100% effort from the coaching team, creating links with local tennis clubs and further afield, only two tennis festivals were organized, with no follow up at either club to develop a pathway for individuals with support needs. Gary and Allwyn, along with team coaches and volunteers, realized changes were needed.

Over the course of time the introduction to other sports occurred. Walking netball was enjoyed by all age groups, links set up with Netball Scotland, to establish a pathway to meet other likewise individuals. Sadly, this did not materialize and communications broke down. Basketball was introduced, individuals loving everything they were offered, link set up with Basketball Scotland, however sadly, the all too familiar story. Barriers in the way. An event was held which some of our vulnerable beneficiaries were invited to, however the feedback was they were not comfortable taking part in the sessions offered. Disappointment for all.

It was proving difficult to find a sport/club that was welcoming for our vulernable beneficaires. A club which had an open door policy. Frustration was felt not only by the coaches and volunteers, but with the vulnerable beneficaries too. It became clear, tennis and various sports we were trying, needed to go in a different direction, we were not going to give up.

During indoor sessions 2018 with vulnerable beneficiaries, Gary introduced rugby drills. These were adapted to suit all abilities, any age, with the emphasis being on fun, learning new techniques, bringing a different sport to the table. It was about teamwork, and respect. The coaches saw new ways to adapt the drills, fitness levels increased, and by the time summer came these drills were taken outdoors. The team soon discovered that our vulnerable beneficiaries were happy to try any multi sports and so with Gary at the helm for rugby, a link was set up with HJRFC.

As players became more confident with the rugby drills, Gary suggested asking a coach, Rory Harte from HJRFC to visit an event held at Kirkintilloch Leisure Centre. This event was the yearly Triathlon, adapted sports where everyone spent 20 mins on each sporting activity (summer 2018). The rugby session which Rory and Gary ran together was a huge success. Over 40 young children and adults engaged in rugby drills, it was this warm welcome from an outside coach, alongside Gary, which cemented a positive path forward.

Triathlon 2018 attended by Rory Harte. Our vulnerable beneficiaries enjoying rugby drills.

First steps in Rugby 2018

Open Day at HJRFC

It was the relationship between Allwyn, Gary and Rory which cemented the Open Day idea in 2018 to invite vulnerable beneficiaries to Hillhead to promote inclusion. Leaflets circulated to invite locals from Hyndland and surround area. The event organized by ruby coaches, to show there should be no barriers in their sport, where everyone was assured, there would be a warm welcome and a fun day. There was a degree of apprehension that would HJRFC prove to be any different from other sports clubs which had been previously visited?

From the moment all individuals stepped out of their minibus arriving at Hillhead Rugby Club it was evident from the positive welcoming of the rugby coaches, our vulnerable beneficiaries, coaches, and volunteers were in for a day to remember. It was a remarkable sight. The fun, the laughter, the ease at which everyone soon felt totally relaxed, turned into a session filled with fun exercises and banter which was one of our most memorable days ever in a sporting activity.

As it was an open day, there were members of the public from the local area who also took part, TV Star Jordan Young attended, with everyone ensuring everyone felt included, no one felt un-comfortable, it was a defining moment for all. The rugby coaches excelled at what we had been striving for the last few years.

Jordan Young with Club President of HJRFC in action.

Nick and Rory (rugby coaches)

We were delighted to attend to help with the tennis aces program at Hughenden and were engaged immediately with the commitment and enjoyment the kids/ participants showed in the initial event. The organizers really impressed us with the accuracy and detail of the events planned and the timing for participant to engage in different activities.

Open Day at HJRFC
Photo Credit: Iain Dewar HJRFC (2019)

Awards Night 2019

Members of HJRFC committee attended an Awards Night. It was an opportunity to meet families of the players and hear of the successes of the year.
Social media posts shared success stories to keep the partnership connected with HJRFC.


Sadly 2020 was the year of lock down and all plans between the clubs were on hold. Events planned were sadly cancelled. Covid-19 had taken a huge emotional toll on all of our participants, however, as soon as restrictions allowed, everyone was eager to resume and develop a pathway where new opportunities created for all. Everyone was looking forward to the potential which has been realized between a rugby club and a disability group.

HJRFC President – Gary


In the future, both HJRFC and Promoting Inclusion Through Sport will continue to offer a rugby ex-perience to vulnerable beneficiaries of all ages. Coaches, players and volunteers from both clubs have much to offer each other.

There will always be learning, challenges, and barriers.
However, what we have shown is there is a way forward. Now that restrictions have lifted, plans are in place for an ASN Highland Games with Tartan Touch taster sessions and more involvement with
HJRFC match days. The future looks bright and both clubs agree, INCLUSION MATTERS.

Link: Research shows that there is an urgent need to decrease the physical and mental health inequalities that still exist between those who have a learning disability and / or autism and those who do not.