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Award-winning HITZ programme celebrates 15 years

Northampton Saints Foundation this week celebrated the 15th anniversary of the award-winning Premiership Rugby HITZ programme. The celebrations involved learners and staff discussing their experience of HITZ through radio interviews, followed by a barbecue feast hosted by Northampton Saints Performance Head Chef, Nick Taylor.

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s flagship education and employability programme which for 15 years has supported young people to make positive change in their lives. Working with more than 2,000 14-24 year-olds across England every year, the programme uses rugby’s core values to develop invaluable personal, life and employability skills, that help young people get back into education, training, apprenticeships and/or employment.

To mark the 15th anniversary of the award winning HITZ, Premiership Rugby clubs on the programme are hosting their own celebration events up and down the country with all activities designed and planned by the HITZ learners.

Northampton learners were joined by the Free2Talk bus who provided the music and conducted interviews with staff and students for their podcast.

HITZ learners were then treated to the barbecue hosted by Nick Taylor, Performance Head Chef for Northampton Saints and author of Scrummy Feasts. The feast in celebration of HITZ 15th anniversary, was followed by an official cutting of the cake ceremony, with the afternoon wrapping up with a few words from Northampton Saints Foundation HITZ tutors reflecting on the day itself and the significance of this HITZ anniversary.

Shirley Lynch, HITZ Tutor said “It has been incredible to welcome back past students and those who are interested in joining the programme. Hearing how the students have continued on their positive pathways is a credit to the hard work they put in whilst on the programme and dedication to achieving their goals. I thoroughly enjoy helping to develop the personal, life and employability skills of young people. Together with our partners, we are able to offer a huge range of work experience opportunities and informative workshops alongside accredited qualifications. I love my job and today was the perfect way to celebrate 15 years of such a fantastic programme”.

Louis, who attended the HITZ programme in 2019, was delighted to attend the BBQ, he said “The HITZ programme helped me get back on my feet because I was suffering with social anxiety, I couldn’t speak to anybody. Now my confidence is boosted I feel happy, I don’t think about it now. I'm currently attending motorsport college which is something I've wanted to do forever and I'm hoping to get into formula one teams.”

Supported by CVC and East Head Impact, with Central YMCA as the programme’s official education provider, HITZ is delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby’s shareholder clubs and their associated charitable foundations. HITZ began in a field in Hackney back in 2008 and has evolved into the education and employability programme that we see today. The 15-year anniversary celebrates the huge milestones the programme has achieved which include over 22,000 enrolments and 83% progressing immediately into education, employment or training after their time on HITZ.

Wayne Morris, Premiership Rugby Community and Corporate Responsibility Director, said; “I’m super proud of what HITZ has achieved so far but our work is far from over. We believe that every young person, no matter their background or ability, should have access to opportunities that help them fulfil their potential. None of this would be possible without the support of our club foundation teams. The create a unique environment, they really get to know the young people, building a rapport based around mutual respect. These young people come into the programme wanting help, and when they get it, for most the only way is up!”

To find out more about the programme or to enrol for this academic year, email [email protected] or visit northamptonsaintsfoundation.org