Meet the Clapham Feelers – Claphams LGBT+ touch rugby club

At BLOCKHEAD one of our core values is inclusivity. That’s why we’re proud to have recently partnered with and sponsored the Clapham Feelers, Clapham’s LGBT+ touch rugby club. We love what they stand for and believe sport is a brilliant way to help with physical, mental and emotional health. Get fit, build confidence, make some friends all while having a great time on and off the field – what’s not to like?!

Don’t take our word for it, take JJ’s who’s one of the core team at the Clapham Feelers. Find out about them and how to get involved below:

Who are the Clapham Feelers?

The Clapham Feelers is an open and inclusive LGBT+ touch rugby team and social club. Founded in 2015, it started with a group of six friends meeting up in the park and throwing a rugby ball around. Today, ‘The Feelers’ has grown to 50+ players training twice a week, as well as participating in multiple touch rugby leagues across the UK.

As one of London’s first LGBT+ touch rugby teams, we welcome people of any experience level and actively encourage anyone who hasn’t played before to join. We enjoy introducing people to touch rugby, and as such, make it our goal to coach both new and experience players alike.

What was your inspiration for the club?

There are many challenges growing up as a member of the LGBT+ community, but one particularly difficulty is navigating your way in team sports.

Members of our community often experience difficulties with confidence and acceptance in sport. Having experienced this myself, I saw an opportunity to create an open and welcoming LGBT+ touch rugby club where we actively welcome new and inexperienced players and encourage them to join in our extremely social (and fun!) community.

What do you love most about running the club?

Along with the rest of the Committee of the Clapham Feelers, we enjoy creating an environment where members of the LGBT+ committee can join a community of people, and make great friendships through the love of sport. Playing touch rugby is only part of what the Clapham Feelers is about. A large part of the Feelers is about helping individuals build great long-lasting friendships.

How did you go about finding and reaching new members, and how should anyone interested get in touch?

Please visit our Instagram @clapham_feelers where we provide all the info you’ll need to join using the link in our bio. We also use this to provide updates to players and obviously post lots of pics of the group!

Where and when do you play/practice and what other activities do you have throughout the year?

We practice on Clapham Common Wednesday’s (18:30) and Saturday’s (10:15).  We  also compete in the weekly O2 league games throughout the year, as well as several tournaments such as Pride in Touch, Touch My Brum and tournaments organised by the IGR (International Gay Rugby). On the lighter side we also sometimes partner with other fitness groups or sports teams helping introduce more people to touch rugby.

Socially we always go for drinks/food after practice, host quiz nights, and have several other social nights throughout the year for members and their friends. And for the first time this year, 70 Feelers marched in London Pride!

From an athletic point of view, what are the main benefits/challenges of touch rugby?

Touch rugby is a very fast-paced stop-start game which increases fitness immensely due to the high intensity. The game lasts 40 minutes (2 x 20 min halves) which is a great calorie burner! In addition to the cardio benefits, people increase their hand-eye coordination, ball skills, foot movement and communication through touch rugby. People that haven’t played rugby or touch rugby before may find it challenging at first but we endeavor to coach and drive continuous improvement in our players and over the years we have seen tremendous growth!

How does BLOCKHEAD help you perform at your best?

BLOCKHEAD provides the immediate caffeine boost needed to supercharge performance at the intense level we require in touch rugby.  It recharges the batteries within minutes and increases focus while on the field.

What is your ambition at the Clapham Feelers (touch rugby and beyond), and how will the partnership with BLOCKHEAD help you?

The Clapham Feelers want to continue to provide a space for LGBT+ people to find solace in community as well as build their fitness and improve their skills in the sport. The partnership with BLOCKHEAD will empower us to remain a free-to-play club for players, and help the club pay for equipment (such as cones, balls, whistles, etc.), coaching and referee courses and help members with fees for tournaments. Thank you BLOCKHEAD!