Through the course of the day I receive many press releases, most are certainly of interest and will become more so once I give up the world of having a ‘day job’ at the end of March. The odd release makes me want to rush to my keyboard to share the news/information.

One such is the news about the Premiership HITZ Rugby Awards evening on February 4th; I went along to the same event in late 2014 and found myself completely inspired!  For those of you who don’t know what it’s all about here’s a quick round up, taken from the site

The award winning HITZ programme tackles some of the greatest challenges facing young people today – unemployment, crime and disillusionment. Delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby and funded by partners Barclays, Comic Relief, Land Rover and Wooden Spoon, HITZ uses rugby to increase young peoples resilience, self-reliance and confidence. It gives them the skills to get back into education, vocational training, apprenticeships and employment. HITZ gives those with no hope new hope.

There is a lot of good work being carried out across the country with rugby, of both codes, at its’ core,  HITZ is the UK’s largest rugby union social inclusion programme.  Rather than having me rambling on, as is my inclination, here’s a link to a great presentation giving more detail of how the programme works.

Premiership Hitz Rugby in a nutshell

The six finalists for the HITZ Young Achiever Award sponsored by Barclays Bank were announced today.  The award recognises and rewards the young person who, by overcoming a range of challenges, has worked the hardest to progress on their journey back to education, training or employment.


Barclays Assistant Vice-President Vicky Lowe had this to say about HITZ:

“Barclays is a partner of the HITZ programme as we see the impact it can have on young people’s lives.  We have a global focus on supporting young people to get back into work and gain financial security and the shortlist for the Young Achiever Award is evidence of this.  We are delighted to be supporting this Award and showcase how rugby is getting young people back into work or education.”

HITZ Awards – Young Achiever shortlist
•    Harry Davis – Bath Rugby
•    Tom Hardy – Bath Rugby
•    Stephanie Rawlings – Harlequins
•    Sohail Khalifa – Leicester Tigers
•    Kendal Morris – Sale Sharks
•    Joe Melfah – Worcester Warriors

Here’s a short biography of each of these inspiring young people

Harry joined the HITZ programme after being knocked down by a lorry while on his bike. Having previously been excluded from a number of schools, and with anger issues, Harry used the programme to reignite his sporting passion and through exposure at the HITZ sessions developed not only a love of rugby but boxing. He has set himself a target of becoming a full-time boxing coach and has received plenty of support from mentors on the programme. This, alongside the employability and numeracy training he has received on the programme, provides a bright future for Harry.

Having had problems with drugs and at school, Tom joined the HITZ programme where he rediscovered his love of rugby. He gave up smoking and is now completing an extended work experience for Curo, a social housing project, with the aim of earning a full-time job. This would never have been possible without HITZ.

Stephanie was in a difficult living situation, away from her parents and in a YMCA in Stockwell. She was struggling to complete her education, but since being part of HITZ she has gained work experience at a Fitness First gym and through the programme’s links has a full-time job at a pub in Wandsworth with plans to develop a career in hospitality.

Hitz 2013 stacked POS FINAL v2

Sohail, had spent much of his life being excluded from sports because he suffers from cerebellar ataxia. Through the HITZ programme he was able to take part in activities as well as believing he could earn long-term employment. He currently sells programmes at Leicester Tigers and is working towards a role in the sporting industry.

Kendall entered the HITZ programme having had problems with drugs and self-harm. After some initial difficulties, she came out of her shell and has gone on to study for a childcare diploma while working as a volunteer at Barnados. Her long-term aim is to go to university and become a social worker.

Joining the HITZ programme after being released from prison, Joe managed to overcome his intimidating attitude and grew immensely in a matter of months. As a result of this change he’s been able to enter full-time employment and is due to start an apprenticeship to become a qualified engineer.

Each of these stories is an inspiration and a true indicator of the fantastic work being carried out across the country.  All of those shortlisted are worthy of the award, I look forward to finding out which of these young people receive the accolade on February 4th.



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