Jose moved to the UK from Portugal at the age of 14 with little knowledge of the English language. Jose was placed in a small house with his parents and siblings. He had to share a bed with his younger sister who, unbeknown to the family was suffering from epilepsy.  

One of Jose first memories in London was waking in the night with his sister suffering from an epilepsy seizure, as the family tried to get help and support from neighbors one of the people that came to help was Francis Emeruwa, in a twist of fate the next time Jose met Francis was his on his first day after being placed in a PRU where Francis turned out to be the Head Teacher.  In another twist of fate Francis was an ex-team mate at Wasps RFC of our founder Lawrence Dallaglio so really value the charities work and has us in working in his school. At the pupil referral unit Jose received extra support learning an entirely new language and excelled in the learning environment.

This is where Jose was introduced to Dallaglio Rugby Works and would attend weekly sessions with our coaches developing life skills and lessons through the power of sport. 

One of my main memories from being on the Dallaglio RugbyWorks intervention was when we won the summer touch rugby tournament. I was so proud of myself and the whole team, the coaches motivated us so much at the Pupil referral unit I attended. I remember we used to take the sessions really seriously in preparation for the tournaments, I would see some of my peers getting kicked out of English class, maths class but when the RugbyWorks coaches arrived everyone would show respect and good sportsmanship. Nobody would get in trouble because they knew if they did, they would lose the trust of the coach and as a young person that is really important especially when you don’t have many people around you.

In 2018, Jose joined the Dallaglio RugbyWorks team as a coach working full time with young people that have similar lived experiences as Jose. Whilst working for us Jose returned to work in his old school to share his experiences with new RugbyWorks participants.  Whilst there Jose was asked to personally  mentor a young man who himself had been placed in the school due to his limited use of English at the time and was struggling to adapt and fit in.

I wanted to mentor other Young People in the same situation I had been in. When I had arrived in the UK, I had no one to support me in the country, I had no guidance and no motivation, I was scared to walk around the school because I didn’t understand anyone around me or why they acted the way they did. When I started attending Dallaglio RugbyWorks session it was the thing I held on to and helped me”

As well as coaching, Jose has spoken at a lot of RugbyWorks fundraising events and became a really confident and accomplished public speaker that has brought a credible face to the work being done on the ground with in-need young people.

Jose went on to study Sports and Exercise Science in college and has now achieved a BSc in Sports Coaching at St Mary’s London. Whilst completing his studies Jose continued to work for Dallaglio RugbyWorks on a part-time basis where he had availability.

Jose is now in the process of training for his first Cycle Slam where he will ride alongside his ex-coaches now colleges in order to raise funds for the organistion that helped him when he was a young person. 

Training has been hard however I have been enjoying every single bit of it. I have always wanted to take part in CycleSlam and it is such a good opportunity to put myself to test and see how much I can push myself,  inspire other young people and raise funds for an amazing cause.

Support Jose on Cycle Slam by donating to his page here!