RUGBY players in South Ayrshire have won praise for bringing 'scrum-thing' special to the communities they serve.

Carrick Rugby Club, in Maybole, was hailed by local MSP for offering young people "a safe and welcoming space to meet new people and get active".

Elena Whitham joined the club's players and volunteers recently at one of their Friday night 'diversionary sessions', which aim to give young people in the area the chance to do something fun and healthy with their time and to address anti-social behaviour.

The SNP MSP, who played rugby while she was growing up in Canada, has heralded the health benefits and life lessons the sport could potentially bring.

Ms Whitham's visit comes off the back of a visit by Carrick RFC representatives to the Scottish Parliament.

The Holyrood visit came after the club was nominated in the 'One To Watch' category in the Social Enterprise Scotland awards, recognition of their efforts towards becoming a sustainable social enterprise.

Ms Whitham said: “I had a wonderful time with the players and volunteers from Carrick Rugby’s Friday night diversionary session.

"This positive, community-led initiative gives young people in our area a safe and welcoming space to meet new people and get active.

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“It is essential to give children and young adults opportunities to get out of the house and grow together to prevent them from turning to anti-social behaviour.

"The coaches and players told me how much they value Carrick Rugby and the positive impact it has had on their lives.

“I was especially delighted to see a good balance of girls and boys taking part in the session. It is great that rugby is becoming a sport for everyone, regardless of gender or background.

"I played rugby when I was growing up in Canada and know first-hand the health benefits and also the life lessons the sport gives. So it is fantastic to see young people in Ayrshire get involved.

“It is clear that Carrick Rugby is going from strength to strength and their work is being recognised far and wide.

"Representatives from the club recently met me in the Scottish Parliament for the 2023 Social Enterprise Awards where they were nominated for the One to Watch Category.

“I look forward to continuing to follow the success of the club and ask that anyone who thinks they can assist with their efforts to get in touch with them.”