The support of young people has been a deep-rooted part of Northampton RFC since it began in 1880.
Founded as a ‘boys improvement class’ by Reverend Samuel Wathen Wigg; his remedy for the unruly youngsters was to channel their energies into a youth rugby club. Being curated at St James’ Church earned the Club its nicknames – the 'Saints', or 'Jimmies'.
The Foundation as we know it today started with The Study Centre which has supported schools across Northamptonshire for many years by improving motivation, self-esteem and learning of young people through the medium of sport. This includes Rewards Days, Holiday Clubs, Gifted and Talented and Match Day Experiences.
In 2012, Premiership Rugby’s award-winning HITZ programme was introduced to the Saints. HITZ uses rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship to get young people not in education, training or employment (NEET) back into education, training, apprenticeships and/or employment.
The hugely positive impact of the HITZ programme inspired the Club to do even more, and in 2015 Engage was launched. This ambitious programme works with schools to support Primary and Secondary students who find themselves at risk of permanent exclusion. To date all our programmes have supported more than 6,000 students across Northamptonshire each year.
The combined success of these programmes and the resulting positive outcomes have brought us to the formalisation of the charity: Northampton Saints Foundation.
Preserving the history of the Northampton Saints is also a key part of the Foundation. With its own heritage department, supported by Club Historian Graham McKechnie, and a team of volunteers, it dedicates time to the researching and recording the club's history and remembering the individuals who have bought the club to where it is today.
This transition brings all our programmes and departments together under one umbrella organisation, with the clear vision of Inspiring, supporting and educating the young people in our community. Our ambition is to create an infrastructure of skills, people, resources and facilities that means we can continue fulfilling the club’s longstanding vision.
In order to offer our comprehensive, bespoke programmes and enable us to document the club’s history, donations of time, expertise, money and activities are critical to the operation of Northampton Saints Foundation. Our fundraising team work hard to secure grants and seek fundraising activities to ensure we continue our operation long into the future.