Support, Transform, and Achieve through Rugby.

star* scheme is a charity dedicated to transforming the lives of young individuals who have, or are currently, facing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Leveraging the power of rugby, star* provides a safe and nurturing environment for young people to heal and thrive. Through evidence-based practices and grounded theory, we tailor our interventions to each child through personal development plans to address emotional, psychological, and social challenges, with the young people fostering resilience and life skills. star* goal is to empower these young people, helping them overcome barriers and embrace brighter futures.


– Health and wellness
– Mental health
– Childhood trauma
– Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
– Young People 4 – 18


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are highly stressful and potentially traumatic events that occur during childhood. ACEs are put into 8 categories.

  • Maltreatment
  • Adult Responsibilities
  • Prejudice
  • Inhumane Treatment
  • Household or Family Adversity
  • Violence & Coercion
  • Adjustment
  • Bereavement and Survivorship

For every 100 adults in England, 48 have suffered at least one ACE during their childhood and nine out of 100 have suffered four or more.

These adverse experiences directly affect the young person and their environment and require significant social, emotional, neurobiological, psychological and behavioural adaptations. ACEs can affect and change how young people feel, behave and view the outside world.

Young people who have experienced multiple aces often demonstrate impaired neurological development within key areas of the brain. Frequent or prolonged exposure to ACEs causes toxic stress which can damage the development of the brain of a child. This damage mainly occurs in the temporal lobe. The temporal lobe plays a role in managing your emotions processing information from the senses, storing and retrieving memories and understanding languages. Damage to this part of the brain can have lifelong effects. ACEs impact a child’s development, and their relationships with others, this increases the risk of engaging in health-harming behaviours and experiencing poorer mental and physical health in adulthood.

Children who’ve experienced four or more ACEs are

  • 1.9 x more likely to display aggressive behaviour, per ACE.
  • 9.1 x more likely to experience drug use under the age of 14.
  • 2.3 x more likely to contract a chronic disease.
  • 2.1 x more likely to attempt suicide, per ACE.


Thankfully it is possible to prevent and counteract the damaging effects of ACEs in young people. Junior rugby provides all counteracting methods. We can use junior rugby to help star* children.

star* has developed a formalised method to address ACEs and enhance access to sports. We offer opportunities to children who  may not have originally had access to rugby. By connecting with their schools and linking them with local clubs. Our trained and experienced regional managers assist these clubs in seamlessly integrating the star* scheme program into their junior sections. We provide each club with valuable support, comprehensive training, and financial assistance, enabling them to create a safe and nurturing environment for local children who have experienced ACEs. This approach extends the clubs’ outreach to the community and fosters collaboration with local schools.

The preventable measures are as follows:

  • Developing and improving physical and emotional health
  • Identifying and cultivating a sense of purpose
  • Developing individual competencies
  • Develop social connections
  • Support the parents/guardians and families
  • Parents/guardians are Valium families developing that own resilience through our help
  • Advocation of poverty positive parenting skills
  • Develop Close relationships with caring adults
  • Provides safe, stable and nurturing relationships

“ Joining our new family at Chew Valley Rugby Club means absolutely everything to us. The support we get from the club and star* is amazing. They always go above and beyond for us!”

– Parent of a child in star* at Chew Valley RFC

“ It’s a great way to build up your communication skills because it’s a very commutative communicative sport and it helps you gain a lot of confidence in many things”

– Rowan, 14

“ The star scheme is truly a godsend rugby is one place where my son’s personality and passion are celebrated like any after school activity or club it’s a commitment and a commitment of time and finance. But I truly feel team sport is something Jenson thrives from, also the input from coaches and teammates impacts Jenson greatly in confidence and gives him a sense of purpose. He’s gained so much and we’re so fortunate with how much time and effort his coach put into him. The star* scheme means I can fully commit with the worry being taken away knowing my son and I have huge support behind us. Rugby makes such a huge difference to him celebrating his personality and a huge comfort for me knowing that if I can’t provide I have a priceless backup from star*. ”

Donna, Jenson’s mum

Why did you choose rugby?

“ Zach has discovered a channel for controlled aggression and a place to channel his excess energy. Before starting at Broughton Park Zach didn’t want to do sports and found it difficult to concentrate at school. Rugby isn’t just a game for him it’s been a transformative experience that has positively impacted not only his physical abilities but his school experience and behaviour at home. Thank you Broughton Park and star* scheme for making this happen for Zach. ”

Dennis, Zach’s Dad


  • To collaborate with local schools and premier rugby clubs to identify struggling young people.
  • To establish the star* scheme in every rugby club across the UK.
  • To advance research on the impact of ACEs and the profound early intervention that sports can provide for improvement.
  • To engage with young children, seeking their input, and empowering them to drive enhancements within the scheme.
  • To raise awareness of ACEs in young people and remove societal judgment

How we use your donations

Donations are used to cover the cost of transport, regional managers, coach training, outreach programs, kit, club subscriptions, food for the children and tour costs.

£688 will fund 1 x child to be in a star* club for 32 weeks


In December 2023 star* is working with 8 of the 10 current Premiership Rugby teams and is operating in 9 of the 14 Premiership regions in England. We are engaged with 94 grassroots rugby clubs across England, with 22 clubs live with children attending; 20 will be live from February, with the remaining 52 clubs looking to be live by September.

At the grassroots clubs, we currently have over 350 volunteers, a number which will increase to over 1300 by September 2024. The current impact of the project, when measured with our Player Development plans, shows an average of 200% improvement in targeted areas. The attendance of the star* young people has averaged 78% for the 2022-2023 season, which is at least in line with the attendance of non-star* players.