I’ve written about the Saracens Sports Foundation before, but the annual Patron’s Evening has given me the chance to go again, I really can’t write too much about the work carried out by this wonderful group of people.
The charity was established in 2000, they work across Hertfordshire and North London and inspire communities, changing lives throughout the power of sport. The charity has real depth in the people it targets. I’m going to lift some quotes from their impressive impact report for the year.
The charity works on Four Pillars as follows –
We offer a range of physical activities including various forms of rugby, athletics, dance and cheerleading. Our aim is to increase the number of young people and adults participating in sport.
Health & Wellbeing
We aim to inspire young people and adults to make informed decisions about their overall physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, leading to lifelong positive behaviour changes in their everyday life.
Education and Employability
We offer pathways into education and employment, ensuring we can provide the best opportunities and platforms for personal and educational development.
Our inclusion programmes are designed to reach out to those excluded or removed from their community, using sport as a catalyst for continued participation and engagement.
As a cricket geek I love stats and here are some highly impressive statistics from this years’ impact report –
6,250 students introduced to rugby in secondary schools through the Blast Programme over 6 years.
Over 320 men and women attend weekly Love To Dance classes.
1,700 combined laps run by Sarries Track Club participants – that’s the length of more than 5,600 rugby pitches.
10 out of 12 participants returned to Employment, Education or Training after taking part in the Hitz Programme.
This wonderful organisation has an impact across the lives of young and old alike and has this year spread to the Township of Kayamandi in Stellenbosch where over 180 children participate every day in daily sport, education and health related sessions.
During the patrons evening we were split into groups. We were initially introduced to one of the Hitz Rugby participants, a young man who stood up and explained the programme to us. This was a lad who couldn’t speak to older people before he engaged with Hitz, let alone stand in front of a group of them and speak! The programme has given him confidence and a future, I have a big soft spot for this particular aspect, attending the annual awards evening in London where I’ve heard some amazing stories, it is literally a life changing programme.
Next stop for my group was a glimpse of the Love to Dance strand, I confess that I sat out as several of those present took part in a co-ordinated dance, its was great fun! There are 22 classes running in Hertfordshire each week.
Once the dance was mastered we were whisked outside to an introduction to walking/rambling rugby, this is new to the Sports Foundation. We were split into 2 groups who then took each other on in a game. I’m going to cheat again and take the description from the Foundation’s Facebook page.
As the name suggests, running is forbidden. There are also no tackles, instead players can hold onto the ball for no more than three seconds before passing, keeping the pace moving and giving the other team an opportunity to intercept. Players do need a certain degree of mobility; however, we will adapt sessions to accommodate complete beginners through to rugby veterans.
We had great fun, and very quickly spotted the highly competitive person on each team, my good friend Alun in opposition and the lovely, gentle Clare on my team, their reactions were an added bonus without question!
The Rambling Rugby session start this week.
All players need is a good pair of trainers, comfortably clothes and some water!
The details of the session are as follows:
Allianz Park, Hendon, NW4 1RL
Starting Tuesday 3rd October through to 14th November (weather dependent)
£4 pay as you go (FIRST SESSION FREE)
Once we’d tried to stick to the rules of the rugby we were sent back up to eat our dinner, the food was lovely as it always is at Allianz Park. We heard from Christopher, he participates in Track Club and as you can see above ran in the Virgin Sport 10km recently in spite of his autism, he’s literally been transformed, being fitter and in better shape, this was an autistic man who stood on a stage and spoke to a room of people! It was quite amazing!
The evening was heartwarming to say the least, this is one special organisation with many lovely people working to make lives better. Fund raising is always an issue for charities, over £27,000 was raised last season during the Saracens v Bristol match and a group of Saracens fans recently completed the South Coast Challenge, walking 100km in less than 24 hours in most cases, they raised an amazing £15,245!
It’s easy to donate, contact the Foundation if you’d like to become a patron – firstname.lastname@example.org.