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Manchester Village Spartans

The Manchester Village Spartans RUFC is Greater Manchester's gay and inclusive rugby union football team.

It can often be difficult for the LGBT community to get involved in sport. A 2016 study by the National LGB&T Partnership found that 55% of males in the LGBT community were not active enough to maintain good health, in comparison to 33% of males in the general population.

One group tackling this is the Manchester Village Spartans. Formed in 1998, the Spartans is an inclusive rugby union club, providing a welcoming environment for those in the LGBT community to participate in sport.

Ali Cooper, 22, was new to the city when he discovered the Spartans at a Manchester Pride stall.

I didn't know anyone in the city, but the Spartans has introduced me to a whole network of people," he says. "I'm fitter and happier since I started playing with the team. Rugby is a great sport, and there is a place for anyone. You don't have to be a certain body type or skill level to get involved. All you need is the determination to try something new."

Ali Cooper

Teammate Ross Whitenstall, 24, agrees:

Joining the Spartans had such a positive effect on my life. Most of all, I did not realise how much I would enjoy playing a team sport and making new friendships as a result. Since joining, I have noticed a huge difference in my energy levels and mood as a result. I feel a lot better playing regular sport in my spare time. My job is quite solitary in nature so it is a nice break coming to the Spartans in the week."

Ross Whitenstall, Manchester Village Spartans Player

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