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Inside line: The Rugby Journal joins 3 Pillars prison session

The work of the 3 Pillars Project has been profiled by The Rugby Journal after their writer visited a recent rugby session inside Cookham Wood YOI.

Featuring the perspectives of participants, coaches, Prison Officers, and teachers; the article truly reflects the 3 Pillars Project’s efforts to collaborate with these departments within the secure estate – a classic ‘best practice’ example of a impactful sport-based collaboration between custody and community.

The Rugby Journal article also features a brief interview with participant-turned-coach, Steve, which looks at his past and how 3 Pillars will support him going forward.

The following are a few exclusive selected excerpts for the Alliance of Sport:

  •  Defining the team: Alongside the development of rugby skills, 3 Pillars Project courses develop participants’ soft skills through workshops and qualifications.

“Rugby is effectively the ‘Trojan Horse’ towards a long-term goal that would see the 3 Pillars team act as mentors as well as finding opportunities for offenders after they have been released.”

  • Changing the narrative, taking on responsibility: Any course participant who shows an interest has the opportunity to join further courses as a coach assistant, which is where we really saw one participant called Steve’s talents and knew we wanted to work with him more.

“Instead of being the boxer turned drug dealer, this is my chance to change my story.” – Steve O’Meara, 3 Pillars graduate, coach and mentor

  • More than just a game: We seek to show the young people we work with their true potential; our sessions build their leadership skills and culminate in them earning a qualification.

“It’s about trying to build a community for a lot of young people who have never had that.” – Mike Crofts (CEO)

  • Determined as individuals, successful as a team: We aim to develop a team with a supportive mentality, key to which is encouraging positive interactions with fellow participants.

“With rugby, you feel more like you are part of a team. This has been the thing we look forward to every Thursday. Nobody has missed a session.” – 16-year-old participant

  • The full article requires a purchase and can be accessed here.
  • Any Alliance of Sport members wishing to speak to 3 Pillars about their work can contact them at or visit
  • The Alliance of Sport visited 3 Pillars earlier in 2018. See our report here.

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