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North Wales’ first LGBTQ+ rugby team breaking down barriers

Conwy Dragons grew from just three members to playing a game at the Principality Stadium. Today we hear their story on the latest Active Together podcast.

Conwy Dragons team at the Principality stadium.

An inclusive rugby team in North Wales has grown to more than 20 members, just a few years after their first training session.

The club was set up in 2021 by Matt Brown and Rob Owen, after Matt watched a documentary on the Kings Cross Steelers, the world’s first gay rugby club. Realising that nothing similar existed in North Wales they decided to start a team.

As Matt tells the latest Active Together podcast, “I had the idea, why not just do it myself. I could wait for someone to do it, but I’d be waiting for ages!”

Five months later, after discussion with the Welsh Rugby Union and Get Out Get Active (GOGA) support, the first training session was held at Conwy Rugby Club.

Watch the Active Together podcast here.

Listen to the Active Together podcasts wherever you get your podcasts, (Apple, Google, Amazon, Spotify etc.).

Since those early days the team has gone from strength to strength, even playing a match at the Welsh home of rugby, the Principality Stadium. But, as both Matt and fellow participant Jamie Grubb explain, the heart of the club is its inclusive nature, creating a safe and welcoming environment for anyone to join in.

“It’s a community of people all helping each other, whether that’s physically or mentally to be able to overcome those barriers that we all face internally” Jamie says.

“We all have our own journeys and our own battles, and having organisations like this helping the local communities to be able to come out of their comfort zones and use that to their advantage and break down the stigmas that there are around things.”

The benefits of sport in bringing people together are highlighted throughout the episode. GOGA is a programme, led by Activity Alliance, that helps people come together to enjoy sport and physical activity in fun environments. The Conwy Dragons are a brilliant example of that in practice.

“It's about having somewhere safe” Jamie continues.

“I think that’s probably the most important thing for me about this rugby club and GOGA. There is a safe place for everyone, there is a safe home for us all to be able to use as this hub within the community.

“And I think from there, that’s all that matters.”

Active Together is a podcast series that hears from some of those that have benefited from Get Out Get Active. From Nordic Walking to SEN Discos we have been lucky enough to hear the personal stories of participants to volunteers.

You can listen to all episodes wherever you get your podcasts.

About Get Out Get Active 

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is a programme that supports disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together. Activity Alliance is the creator and lead partner. The programme is funded by Spirit of 2012, Sport England and London Marathon Foundation.  

Find out more about Get Out Get Active here.