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England Touch Association and British Heart Foundation partner to get hearts healthy across the country

The England Touch Association (ETA) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) have announced a new charity partnership.

The foundations were laid at the start of lockdown 2 in November, when the #TouchMyHeart 28-day challenge of Touch Rugby skills and fitness activities got hundreds of Touch Rugby players off their feet across the country and raised nearly £2,500 for the BHF.

This came hot on the heels of an academic study published in British Journal of Sports Medicine which highlighted that regular participation in Touch Rugby over a 10-12 week period improved cardiovascular risk factors, including resting heart rate and diastolic blood pressure.

The research also showed that Touch Rugby players participating in the study experienced improvements in their rate of oxygen consumption, and the metabolic risk factors associated with the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and the reduction in total body fat mass. The study also suggests that Touch ‘could be actively advocated as health-promoting activities across the general population’.

This has inspired the ETA and BHF to continue working together, beginning with a new programme of short home workouts designed and demonstrated by Aaron Green, the ETA’s high performance strength and conditioning coach, which will be shared by the BHF across their own digital channels.

BHF Area Fundraising Manager Peter Tarrant says that he was impressed by the positive attitude and innovative thinking shown by the ETA management, by the dedication of the Touch Rugby community, and by the potential of the sport to be a driver of healthier hearts and more physical activity among people of all ages.

“Touch Rugby was a new sport to me, but the potential of a positive and proactive partnership quickly became apparent, and we’re delighted to have come to a more formal agreement with the England Touch Association,” he commented.

“As a sport it ticks all the right boxes for the BHF – it can be played by male and female players of all ages, it is really accessible with no specialist equipment needed, and the health benefits are clear.

“We’ve already begun in-depth discussions about ideas and initiatives with Sammie Phillips and Chris Simon and it will be exciting to see these progress in the future.”

England Touch Association Chief Executive Chris Simon is excited by this new partnership.

“The BHF is a fantastic charity which works in an area that impacts families throughout the country, so it is an honour that they have chosen the England Touch Association as their first national governing body partnership within sport,” he commented.

“Firstly, Sammie Phillips deserves a massive amount of credit for setting up the Touch My Heart challenges back in November which have ultimately brought about this partnership. And I would like to thank the Touch Rugby community who raised the thousands of pounds for the BHF.

“By working with the BHF we can showcase Touch Rugby as a mass participation sport at all levels, and a real driver for improved physical health and the other benefits which come from that.

“This is just one of a number of strategic partnerships that we have either finalised or are close to finalising, and we are looking positively into 2021.”

The BHF is the largest independent funder of cardiovascular research in the UK. Heart and circulatory diseases cause more than a quarter (27 per cent) of all deaths in the UK.

To find out more about the charity’s groundbreaking work head to

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